From Flobots to Nathaniel Rateliff and #WomenCrush, finding social justice through music

Long prior to their platinum revenue, international excursions, or work for contemporary ballet company Wonderbound, the associates of Denver hip-hop act Flobots saw the possibility in baking activism and education right in their music.

“It was always supposed to be symbiotic,” stated creator Jamie Laurie, a.k.a. Jonny 5, that had been inspired by the social-justice activism at New York’s hip-hop community in the 1980s and ’90s. “That turned into part of their fantasy of Flobots, and in fact, our first show with a live group was for a Rock the Vote concert at 2004. ”

The following anniversary is coming up.

On Oct. 13, Laurie will reunite Flobots’ first, full-band lineup to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Youth Record, the audio non-profit they founded (formerly called that provides at-risk Denver youth music-based creative sockets, in addition to essential academic and labour skills.

Their celebration and fundraiser in McNichols Civic Center building will also highlight Youth on Record’s organizational successes, such as its 4,000-square-foot Youth Media Studio. The project was designed in partnership with the Denver Housing Authority and anchors a mixed-&bashful;income residential and business complex at La Alma/Lincoln Park.

“It was funny,” stated Jami Duffy, Youth on Record’s executive manager since 2010, since she remembered the lead-up into the project. “I’d walk to meetings with state and individuals, ‘We will need to construct a $2 million, LEED-certified, state-of-the-art recording studio,’ and people would ask me to leave their office. ‘It’s bad market. You guys are too small! ’ But Coping with Denver Housing Authority gave a million bucks to leverage the extra million to build this, and after that we began taking us seriously. ”

Far from vanity project or a marketing gimmick, Youth online Record has endured to become a good example of environmentally conscious musicians and activists, particularly as race, gender and gun-violence problems have dominated headlines in recent years.

“When we talk about social and economic justice, we’re speaking about leveling the field so that everybody has equal access to opportunity,” stated Denver singer-songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff, at a press statement for his newly formed nonprofit, The Marigold Foundation.

Along with his base, Rateliff will have an event on Oct. 13 beneath the banner “Not One More. ” It includes workshops, training and panels on gun violence prevention in the Industry building from the River North neighborhood (9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.), in addition to a rally along with totally free concert headlined by Rateliff along with his soul-revival ring the Night Sweats in Levitt Pavilion (beginning at 2 pm ), with guests Los Mocochetes, Kam Franklin in the Suffers along with the Denver Children’s Choir.

“It’s powerful to admit you don&rsquo. That’s among the things I enjoy about meeting with new people and traveling all of the time,” Rateliff said. “We always appear to have bits of a mystery and we could connect those bits to lift up each other. ”

The spirit of cooperation runs deep from the current strain of justice-minded audio nonprofits.

In the event of Youth on Record, it’s roughly collaborating with nearly a dozen Denver Public Schools places to address race and income inequality, given that 90 percent of those 1,000 pupils Youth on Record instructs at any given time have been 80 percent Hispanic and 10 percent black — nearly all people qualify for national support in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

“And we provide them the real deal,” stated Youth on Record board member Andy “Rok” Guerrero, who is rejoining Flobots with this weekend’s 10th anniversary celebration. “We’ve had Imagine Dragons, Twenty One Pilots, Ozomatli, Arrested Development, Sleater-Kinney and all sorts of bands in there, however, we & ’re also employing musicians and giving this productive outlet to children. ”

Guerrero, who teaches performance and music company in the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Arts & Media, sees a circular and upward trend in the increase of nonprofits like Youth on Record. Half have been former pupils, of those 20 contractors teaching for them.

In the case of #WomenCrush Music, that opened its first Denver chapter every month, it’s approximately supporting women singer-songwriters in a market which ’s piled against them in significant ways, from attitudes to their rate of pay and the way theyrsquo;re marketed and promoted.

Ashley Kervabon organized the very first #WomenCrush Music exhibition in Portland, Ore., in January 2017 to nurture a community of women songwriters. Over two decades later, #WomenCrush counts chapters in 15 cities from the U.S. and Canada, also wants to expand to Latin America.

“We’ve increased so much in a brief quantity of time,” Kervabon stated via email, mentioning support from #WomenCrush’s dozens and musicians of volunteers. “We measure achievement based on the number of artists are participated coming to our own events and inspired to be involved with the organization. Success for 2019 will mean receiving grants, sponsorships and achieving donors. ”

The very first #WomenCrush Music event in Denver will happen Oct. 14 in the Mercury Cafe, including chapter pioneer Britt Margit and absolutely free performances by Sassfactory, Sister Neapolitan, along with Mirrors & Lights.

Kervabon stated she received many inquiries about beginning a Denver chapter which it was only a matter of time before someone stepped up to lead it. Looking forward, Margit intends to reserve more showcases in addition to offer workshops and events where women musicians may feel secure and encouraged.

And it won’t stop with #WomenCrush, Kervabon stated.

“Not only have I noticed similar smaller neighborhood organizations sprouting up, but I’ve also seen actors like Alicia Keys and Lily Allen showing their support and wanting initiatives like this one ” she explained. “This is definitely a motion and I cannot say that we began it, but my hope is that we are helping move it. ”

Similarly, Youth on Record’s Duffy doesn’t even claim to have invented whatever that her organization does.

“The idea that music education matters is not brand new,&rdquo. “There’s lots of research demonstrating there will probably be all types of beautiful effects for young people if they’re participated in music. What we did rsquo & that;s distinct is finding a means for the local music community to address very urgent needs in Denver, if itusing music or & rsquo; s high school graduation rates. ”

As a result of its increase from an annual budget of about $125,000 to this season ’s 900,000, Youth on Record is also looking to expand using a facility from the Sun Valley neighborhood — among the poorest urban areas in the Rocky Mountain West — by 2021.

“Our focus is on academics, economic possibility and healing from injury,” stated Duffy, a fluent Spanish speaker who has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Labor. “Our instructors themselves come from the exact backgrounds as our pupils, and that’so critical particularly when working with students of color and if you & rsquo; re doing injury work. They have to see themselves from the leadership positions, and at the classroom. ”

Likewise, the nonprofit Take Note Colorado — an initiative of Gov. John Hickenlooper, The Fray lead singer Isaac Slade, AEG Presents Rocky Mountain president Chuck Morris and others — is fundraising and planning its own hard, statewide, artist-driven music-education programs. And the city, through Denver Arts & Venues, the Denver Music Advisory Panel and the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, is performing exactly what national organizations harbor ’t in recent years and encouraging individual artists and bands through its Music Advancement Fund.

Last week, the finance announced that grants for its pilot year would be $20,000 greater than anticipated (roughly $100,000 total) thanks to some public/private partnership with Arts & Venues, Illegal Pete’s and LivWell. Grantees like Girls Rock Denver, 7th Circle Collective and Músicos de Westwood will get around $7,500 each to grow creative/business chances and new audiences for young music lovers.

Last week, longtime Denver radio character Mario Rodriguez, better called DJ Chonz, also held a launch celebration for his very own nonprofit, The DJ Chonz Foundation, that intends to support other local nonprofits “devoted to promoting cultural, musical and educational experiences,” based on a press statement. Youth on Record along with the experience sports-based nonprofit SOS Outreach have already signed on as partners.

While Flobots’ creator Laurie is pleased to observe the rapid growth of music-education and activism nonprofits at Denver, he’s reluctant to single out Youth on Record because the beginning point — even as bandmates like Stephen Brackett (a.k.a. Flobots’ MC Brer Rabbit) have worked tirelessly to grow it.

“We only wanted to have the ball rolling,” Laurie explained, speaking to the heady days per decade ago when the Flobots’ single “Handlebars” enjoyed millions of streams and downloads, and a spot on the Billboard charts. “We needed a platform from which to speak, along with also a drive to integrate music and activism. The simple fact that other people got excited, signed and drove the vision of it Youth on Record occupies everything . ”

If you go

“Youth on Record: 10 Years Strong” fundraiser. Using Flobots’ first lineup performing the record “Fight With Tools. ” 5:30-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, in McNichols Civic Center building, 144 W. Colfax Ave. Tickets: $15-$30; sponsorship tables available for around $5,000.

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