The Root 100 - The Most Influential African Americans in 2020 - 94: J'Nai Bridges

Oleg Dyachenko
·1 min read

A former state champion basketball player and track star, Washington state native J'Nai Bridges traded in her sneakers for singing during her senior year of high school and never looked back. Since earning a graduate degree from Philadelphia's esteemed Curtis Institute of Music, she has triumphed in singing roles, including Dalila in _Samson et Dalila_, the title role in _Carmen_ at the Dutch National Opera and Margret in _Wozzeck_, and she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in November 2019, singing the part of Nefertiti in a sold-out run of Philip Glass' _Akhnaten_. The triumph occurred just a few months after the death of one of her idols, Jessye Norman; Bridges was a featured singer in the Met's tribute to the famed diva in November and also participated in a star-studded tribute concert in September of this year in honor of what would have been Norman's 75th birthday. And in a full-circle moment, the rising opera star returned to the basketball court this year to perform the national anthem at a Washington Wizards game in March.