Brandon Leake (age 27) from Stockton, California delivered an emotional, powerful poetry about Black Lives Matter and social justice during the Quarterfinals of America’s Got Talent 2020 (Season 15).
The spoken word poet, who happens to be Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer, mentioned the names of Ahmaud Arbery, Jacob Blake, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor – all key figures in the current Black Lives Matter movement sweeping across America and the world today.
Brandon’s heart-wrenching poem drew a standing ovation from the judges, who unanimously praised his performance.
Season: AGT 2020 (Season 15)
Contestant: Brandon Leake
Act: Spoken Word Poet
Brandon Leake Performs Heart-Wrenching Black Lives Matter poem – America’s Got Talent 2020
Brandon Leake Black Lives Matter poem AGT 2020 Quarterfinals
Heidi Klum described Brandon’s performance as very powerful and said she’s happy that he chose the AGT platform to talk about what he just did. “I think it is so important – your spoken words, your honest words, your true words, your necessary words – thank you. You’re my favorite act of the night.”
Sofia Vergara said, “What a great way for us to end the night. It’s something special, that talent that you have. And I really wish you the best luck tonight because I want to keep hearing you. I want to see what you can bring next.”
Howie Mandel commented, “This is above and beyond anything I’ve seen, anything I’ve ever heard especially at this time, it was so perfect. You took a, you know, an older white guy and put myself into the body of an African-American mother just hoping that her son survives life. And this is the conversation we’re having now…I’m not getting political, but this is the conversation that America needs to have and there is no better more entertaining, more woke, more educational way. I am so proud to be here in this room. I’m so proud that I pushed the Golden Buzzer. In my heart, you just won the whole night. You really did.”
America’s Got Talent Season 15
This season is most notable for its production being affected by the COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic in 2020, which impacted audition sessions. The program initially moved to filming without an audience present at auditions, before ultimately suspending production. Auditions were later allowed to continue, but via online applications from those quarantined in their homes.
The production staff decided to push through with the broadcast as planned and premiere on May 26.
Production resumed the week of June 22, 2020, filming on a film backlot in Simi Valley, decorated to look like a drive-in movie theater. Everyone, including the judges and host Terry Crews, wore masks when not on camera. The Judge Cuts round was reduced from four episodes to one, and the acts were reduced from 72 to 60. The live shows will feature 44 acts over four weeks, compared to 36 acts appearing over three weeks last season.
Producers decided to include a virtual audience for the Live Shows and Universal Studios Hollywood was chosen as the venue for performances to take place.
Prior to the first quarter-final’s live broadcast, Cowell became involved in an electric bike accident that left him with a severe back injury. Cowell had surgery to repair the damage, and the production staff recruited guest judges like Kelly Clarkson and Kenan Thompson to stand in for him until doctors would allow him to return to AGT.
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