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APR 17, 2012 - Wyclef Jean has come out with a new song called "Justice (If You're 17)" calling for justice in the Trayvon Martin case, and speaking out against profiling which played a role in the shooting incident. Prescribed and J. Williams help him out on the track, with lines such as:
"If you're 17/And you're wearing a hoodie/You're on the phone/Talking to your shorty/Make no mistake/There's one like you/In every city/You know the story.”
A video to the song will be released on April 20, and JTMP will post it when it comes out. You can download and listen to the song on MediaFire for FREE here, and read an MSNBC Entertainment article about it here. Meanwhile, check out a collaborative short below of "I AM" from the same trio. "The short deals with not only the Trayvon Martin case, but profiling globally" the video says. (photo credit: adanbouzoua/Flickr)
MAR 30, 2012 - The shooting death of Trayvon Martin was painful for Seattle-based musician Okanomode, and he could relate to the profiling that probably played a role in the death of Trayvon and tells JTMP, “I myself am a young black gay male growing up in America & know first hand what it's like to live in fear of attack by police or others who might fear me simply on the basis of both my blackness & my gender expression, & i feel more than ever that community is so necessary in these painful times.” He was so moved by the event he composed "Song For Trayvon", check it out below.
MAR 30, 2012 - A gay blogger has released a handwritten letter he received from Fiona Apple way back in 2000, when he was a 16 year old student in high school. He met her briefly before a show in 2000, and asked if she could write a thing or two in support of gay people for his work with the gay-straight alliance that he was a member of. Fiona did write a handwritten letter of support and got it to him within days. He remarks about it on his Tumblr blog and wants to finally thank her for "taking time out and being so thoughtful, especially for a lonely, weirdo like me". See the letter on Bill's Tumblr blog here.
(photo credit Sara C/Wiki)
MAR 30, 2012 - One of the freethinking musicians that will be playing at the Rock Beyond Belief event tomorrow March 31 at Fort Bragg, NC is Spoonboy, and JTMP got a chance to catch up with him and get his thoughts on the event. Below is the interview, and at the end there is a video of his song "What You Want" promoting Rock Beyond Belief. (Photo courtesy of Spoonboy)
JTMP: David thanks for doing the interview, we are Justice Through Music Project and musical activism is very important to us. Has activism always played a role in your music?
Spoonboy: I got into playing music around the same time as I became interested in activism. A lot of the bands I grew up on were political bands, and being exposed to music through the DC punk scene in the early 2000's meant necessarily being exposed to politics. All things in life have a political element. There are politics in how you choose to write and distribute your music. There are politics in what you choose to say with your music. So I try to acknowledge that in my music, while also always trying to write from a personal place, because I think politics should always come from a personal place as well.
Click READ MORE for rest of interview...
MAR 29, 2012 - Legend and master banjo player Earl Scruggs, who was the father of the three-finger banjo picking style, passed away on March 28, 2012 at the age of 88. Born in 1924 in Flint Hill, N.C. he taught himself how to play with his 2 other brothers, including the guitar and autoharp. He started his musical career with Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys in 1939.
IN 1948 Earl and guitar player Lester Flatt left the Bluegrass Boys and formed a duo, their peak being in 1962 with the theme to the Beverly Hillbillies that virtually everyone knows. Earl Scruggs was a progressive when it came to music and social issues, and wanted to bring in some popular sound, maybe even some saxophone; but Lester was very conservative and hated long-haired hippies, and it caused a rift and breakup of the duo in 1969.
Earl Scruggs became one of the very rare country/bluegrass musicians to ever add his musical activist voice to the anti-Vietnam War movement, performing his classic song "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" at the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam demonstration in October of 1969. Earl Scruggs later said in an interview of his performance, "I think the people in the South is just as concerned as the people that's walkin' the streets here today... I'm sincere about bringing our boys back home. I'm disgusted and in sorrow about the boys we've lost over there. And if I could see a good reason to continue, I wouldn't be here today."
Watch a video of the legendary Earl Scruggs performing his "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" with some friends below.
MAR 29, 2012 - Chaka Khan and others have released a tribute music video titled "Super Life" in honor of Trayvon Martin, and in response to the possibility that Trayvon Martin wearing a hoodie may have played a role in him being profiled by his killer. The video is also sort of a PSA campaign, with people wearing hoodies saying "I am Trayvon, I am [their name], Fear Kills, Love Heals". Chaka gets some help from friends including Angela Bassett, Eva Pigford, Eric Benet, Kelly Price, Kenny Latimore, Loretta Devine and Kimberly Elise. Chaka wears a hoodie in the video and sings:
"Another mama is cryin'
"Cause another young man has gone and died
He's not some statistic
He's an awesome destiny denied"
MAR 28, 2012 - JTMP has been blogging on the freethinker event and concert Rock Beyond Belief this Saturday, March 31, 2012 at the Fort Bragg, NC military base, and JTMP got a chance to interview one of the musicians Jeffrey Lewis that will be performing. This event is being held in response to a 2010 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association “Rock the Fort” event that was heavily evangelical in nature. The activist organizers of the event, such as Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, wear the uniform but spoke up as citizens and wanted equal access, and wanted to promote non-discrimination towards freethinking people such as agnostics, atheists, secularists, humanists and people who just want to be left alone when it comes to religion. (photo: Sonya Kolowrat and courtesy of TheJeffreyLewisSite.com)
Jeffrey Lewis is a musician who describes himself as anti-folk, but also does animation, video, comic books, illustrations and more. Here is the interview, and check out Jeff's cool website here.
JTMP: I love your anti-folk style, very interesting. I have to confess I was not very aware of this genre. Can you describe what the anti-folk means to you?
Jeffrey Lewis: “Anybody who was playing music at the Sidewalk Cafe in New York City in the 1990s or 2000s was automatically labeled "antifolk" no matter what kind of music you played, so the term doesn't really mean anything other than that. But it also makes sense for me, more than for some other people, because it describes a certain attitude towards writing and recording and performing that the term "singer-songwriter" would not describe. I had never heard of antifolk before I started playing at Sidewalk in 1998, but I already would not have thought of myself as a "singer-songwriter," I was more into music as a raw expression in words and sound, NOT so much the delicate craft of piecing words and melodies together. So I'm glad there's a term that already existed that seems to be some sort of description of that, a description of songwriting that falls outside of the normal image. So that's what "antifolk" means to me, if it means anything. I don't mind it, because no matter what you play there will be people who come up with a genre tag for it, you can't escape that, so at least antifolk is a more unique and mysterious tag than "indie rock" or "alt country" or "post punk" or whatever. If people want to call me antifolk I won't fight it.”
CLICK READ MORE FOR REST OF INTERVIEW
MAR 28, 2012 - JTMP has been reporting on the freethinker gathering and concert "Rock Beyond Belief" that will take place on this Saturday, March 31 at Fort Bragg, NC. Having a non-evangelical and/or non-religious event was a hard pill to swallow for the base commanders, and was met with fierce resistance and backlash. One of the bands participating at the event Aiden received hate email from religious people saying that the band Aiken was "burning down churches for the Obama campaign video" and other ridiculous nonsense. This arose because one of their videos shows a scene of a church burning (watch below), and Fox News reporter Todd Starnes wrote an article twisting the words of the song so badly and taking them totally out of context. Aiden's intention of the scene of the burning churches represents Christians, Muslims and Jews burning their rival's churches through the centuries, and the violence and nonsense perpetrated in the name of religion. The band in no way shape or form condones or promotes violence against churches or religious people. They just don't want discrimination against freethinkers. Read a good article about it here.
MAR 27, 2012 - Activist rapper Rebel Diaz has released a new song on Occupy the Airwaves with his new song, "American Nitemare", where he asks people from the inner city "not to leave when you get that degree" and saying we need to help the inner cities who are struggling, like planting trees, creating jobs and fixing the schools. The video was directed by Mateo Zapata, produced by DJ Dez Andres, and he was helped out by Windy City of God. Check it out below.
MAR 26, 2012 - Activist rapper musician Jasiri X, whom JTMP has blogged about when posting about Occupy Wall Street, has wrote and put out a music video titled, "A Song for Trayvon" in honor of Trayvon Martin, the young man shot and killed in Florida last month. Check out the performance at the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn, New York in a video below. To sign a petition calling for justice for Trayvon, visit MoveOn.org, and also you can text "Trayvon" to 30644. The hashtag is #SongForTrayvon.