Photo of Noname by FifthLegend
As millions of global protestors and activists take a stand against police brutality in the streets and online, some business leaders have joined the fight for racial equality. Bandcamp is the latest to demonstrate their dedication to the cause.
In late March, as the widespread effects of COVID-19 devastated the music industry, the online music platform, Bandcamp, committed to waive its share of revenue fees every first Friday of the month until July. The site has announced an additional pledge to donate 100% of its share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on June 19th. Bandcamp is joined by a growing list of artists launching special releases and pledging donations to support racial equality.
As this month’s #BandcampFriday has arrived, here are some talented creators to support:
The whimsical guitar melodies, atmospheric tones, and calming alto vocals of Tasha may seem to place her work in a dream-like realm, but the Chicago singer-songwriter uses gentleness as a combatant to real-life suffering. Her 2018 debut Alone at Last features a hauntingly-relevant spoken word opener, highlighting the artist’s intimate relationship with systematic injustice. “When the next deaths come, because they will,” she explains, “we will have vigor enough to remember their names.” Tasha puts the message of her music to practice in her activist efforts with the Black Youth Project, an organization aimed at uplifting the voices of Black millennials.
“My life, what’s it worth to you?” asks multi-instrumentalist Nnamdi Ogbonnaya on “My Life”. The Chicago talent has dropped EP Black Plight as a vehement response to police brutality. NNAMDÏ deviates from the atmospheric genre-bending of his recent album BRAT with an electric-charged manifestation of outrage, frustration, and fortitude. On June 4th, he led a campaign to raise over $1000 for the Chicago Community Bond Fund and Equity And Transformation (EAT). Proceeds from Friday, June 5th will be split between EAT and Assata’s Daughters.
$935 in 24 hours for the track I posted yesterday! 🙏🏾 I made it an even 1000. $500 to @chibondfund and @eatorgchicago Tomorrow I’m putting out an EP & donating funds to @assatasdaughtersig & EaT honoring CBF’s wishes for people to donate to other important nonprofits 💜 Love Yall pic.twitter.com/Kat3w9mf28
— NNAMDÏ (@NnamdiOgbonnaya) June 5, 2020
The South Carolina native’s protest anthem “Tomorrow” is not his first work of musical activism for the Black community. In 2018, he collaborated with Livefromthecity, Jordan Montgomery, and Tyhir Front on the full-length release, Support Black Business. Inspired by the current pandemic, JM the Poet followed the debut of his first EP The Village with a two-track release entitled Covid Care Pack. The proceeds from “Tomorrow” will be donated to honor the memory of Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade.
Mars Jackson joins a growing number of Pittsburgh artists donating their Bandcamp revenue this Friday to support national Black Lives Matter initiatives in Pittsburgh and Minnesota including the Pittsburgh Freedom Fund and the Bukit Bail Fund. Released last month in the midst of COVID-19 quarantine despondency, Jackson’s “Look Up (feat. Cam Chambers” offers jazz-infused encouragement for dark times. “Nothing but love in my heart at the moment,” Jackson shared on Instagram following his first experience protesting.
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I’m proud of the people in my city today. This was my first protest ever and I had to fight that fear and that hurt and face it head on. Nothing but love in my heart at the moment. I can’t describe the feeling. My spirit wasn’t the best this week but to share that moment with the ones I love. BLACK LIVES WILL ALWAYS MATTER AND IF IT DOESN’T TO YOU WE GOT PLENTY OF BRIDGES IN THIS CITY SO … YOU KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO ✊🏾
Beginning her drumming career at the age of nine, Zoë Brecher has backed artists like Oberhafer, Brainfreeze, and Sadie Dupree’s Sad13. Brecher says her shyness has confined her behind the drum kit, but her impassioned solo project HUSHPUPPY sees the multi-talent embracing the spotlight. Brecher recently took part in a creative songwriting challenge which allotted her 24 hours to write a new track every day for a week. On the resulting EP 24/7, Brecher jumps between delivering tongue-in-cheek humor on “So Good in Clothes”, where she admires the appearance of her fully-clothed lover, to belting punk-inspired vocals on “Who Wouldn’t Want to Be Nice”. The artist has updated her signature lo-fi indie rock with the electropop-inspired “With or Without You” from the new EP TWO.
Dua Saleh’s “body cast” is a desperate call to action. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the artist and activist is intimately cognizant of the ongoing unrest of our nation’s Black community. The track’s cover art lists the names of countless unarmed Black individuals killed by police in recent years. Introducing Saleh’s poignant vocals is an audio clip of a 2019 incident between a Black woman and an officer who illegally entered her home. In a final reclamation of justice, “body cast” concludes with the woman sternly announcing, “I know my rights. They cannot walk in my home….Don’t ever do that again.” Inserted between these audio clips are Saleh’s own desires to stand up against an oppressive system. Saleh is directing all proceeds from “body cast” to Black Visions Collective, an organization Saleh is already a committed supporter for.
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we demand justice for the family of George Floyd and countless others who have had their lives stolen by the police. “body cast” is a song i made with @psymun_1_1x1 last year and intended to save it for a project in the future but i can’t wait that long with what is happening in minneapolis. this song is about police brutality and injustice. available on my bandcamp now. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to @blackvisionscollective who are mobilizing their efforts for real change – link in bio / all of the names listed in this cover art were unarmed black people killed by police in recent years. (please donate more than the suggested price if you’re able to, thank u) mixed & prod. by Psymun / mastered by @alecness / cover art by @bradenxlee & @againstgiants #justiceforgeorgefloyd
Decolonise Fest is an annual punk festival spearheaded by the DIY Diaspora Punx collective of London. The organization aims to celebrate the creative endeavors of “all the Diaspora Punx.” In creating a platform for POC punk musicians to exhibit their art, the collective is “reasserting [their] place in punk and [showcasing] the amazing, creative and talented contributions punx of colour have made to the punk scene since its inception.” Among their roster is the talented three-piece Big Joanie. Decolonise Fest will be directing their share of sales to Black Lives Matter UK and the Majonzi Fund, a support fund for the surviving relatives of POC victims of COVID-19.
The Chicago rapper has been injecting the hip-hop industry with thoughtful prose since her debut Telefone in 2016. Before her entry into music, Noname began her career as a poet—the remnants of which are enchantingly instilled in her discography. On her sophomore album Room 25, Noname expertly operates the soothing sounds of neo soul and celestial jazz to deliver a provocative exploration into her personal psyche. The artist and activist founded Noname’s Book Club, “an online/IRL community dedicated to uplifting POC voices.”
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BOOKS OF THE MONTH (part 2) I felt it was important to go back to our old routine of picking two books a month. In addition to reading Race Music I chose Blood In My Eye by George Jackson. Books about revolutionary action and resistance are vital during this time. Link to free pdf in bio. Share this ✊🏾
On nothing forever, everything Cedric Noel reinterprets emotional turmoil as a mystical fusion of soft guitar chords and bright, cinematic synth. “Written in the middle of a heavy and bizarre time last fall…I tried to create some kind of emotional and creative release” says the Montreal-based singer-songwriter. Noel lets his thoughts drift in the hazy space between cosmic ambience and earthy folk. On “light in yr eye (i loosened up on you” Noel makes the plea to his listeners that in the face of suffering, “Do not lose the light in your eye.”
“The world is in literal shambles” writes experimental rapper, Jaybee Jackson. Operating under the moniker Saani Mac, the Pittsburgh native has dropped the EP Sick Sad World DEMO2020 as a vocal affront to police brutality. The work gets straight to the point—it’s a crude retaliation against decades of injustice. Jackson has pledged to match and donate all proceeds from the tracks to bail funds around the country.
Fans have taken to Twitter to share their own lists of POC artists to support for #BandcampFriday. Twitter user, Stephanie O’Byrne, released a detailed list of artists categorized by genre. Another user, Zach Fruit, shared a spreadsheet of over 300 Black artists and record labels listed on Bandcamp.