Announcing Music for Social Justice video series
MSU musicians offer artistry and thoughts on important social justice issues, Aug. 12 – Dec. 2
The College of Music at Michigan State University is pleased to announce a new video series, Music for Social Justice. In the midst of the movement that began following the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others, faculty members in the college felt the need to speak out on issues of inequality, and what better way to do so than through music.
Currently nine episodes of the series have been filmed, all featuring new performances by MSU artists with brief commentary on why the music they chose is important to them. The premiere video will be released on August 12 and features University Distinguished Professor of Jazz Bass and Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker. New performances will then be released every other week through early December. Videos will premiere on the college YouTube channel and posted to the college web site and other social media channels following each premiere.
“The most important discussion that we need to have is that all people deserve to be free. The discussion has to be about equality, freedom, and justice. This video series is important for the College of Music primarily because it makes a statement that we’re committed to equality and freedom for all, and that Black Lives Matter,” said University Distinguished Professor Rodney Whitaker, who also facilitates the college’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee. “I think that it is important during these times that we enlist allies because how things have always changed in America is when people stand together, not black against white, but black and white against racial injustice and inequality.”
The full schedule of artists and release dates are as follows:
- Rodney Whitaker, bass, August 12
- Gwendolyn Dease, percussion, August 26
- Diego Rivera, saxophone, September 9
- Richard Fracker, tenor, September 23
- Michael Dease, trombone, October 7
- Yvonne Lam, violin, October 21
- Randy Napoleon, jazz guitar, November 4
- Melanie Helton, soprano, with Rodney Whitaker, November 18
- Xavier Davis, piano, December 2
Media representatives are invited to conduct interviews with performers before or after release dates. Assets associated with this project will be available upon request. Please contact the college communications office to arrange.
Currently, all videos filmed at this point are in solidarity with the anti-racism movement in the country. While this will remain a prominent topic, this series is open to other significant social justice topics as well. More video releases are planned for early in 2021.
The 2020–2021 Music for Social Justice video series is generously sponsored by the MSU Federal Credit Union.