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Black Lives - from Generation to Generation is a powerful, exquisitely curated collection of inspired musical collaborations - composed and recorded by a fierce, eclectic collective of Black men and women in America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Their mission: to express 360 degrees of what it means to be discriminated against, targeted, profiled, disrespected, unjustly incarcerated and/or dismissively murdered by racists in perceived positions of power. Black Lives is as musically mind-blowing as it is socio-politically soul-searing, bringing into sharp focus awareness of what bigotry begets, while celebrating the resilience and interconnectivity of Black people and their plight down through the centuries - from sea to agitated sea. Being rolled out as a beautifully packaged limited edition double-CD and double LP collectible - Black Lives - from Generation to Generation will be available Today, March 25, 2022. The 25 highly respected contributors include Jazz / Funk / Rock / World / Blues stalwarts Reggie Washington, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Jeremy Pelt, Immanuel Wilkins and Marvin Sewell, spoken word artists Terrence “Sub Z” Nicholson, Sharrif Simmons and Kokayi, singers Stephanie McKay, Tutu Puoane and Alicia Hall Moran, and turntablist DJ Grazzhoppa. As the subtitle From Generation to Generation implies, there is a recurring theme of knowledge and positivity being passed down from elders to young people. Yet within the contributors there are also familial connections such as saxophonist Oliver Lake and his drummer son Gene Lake, saxophonist Marcus Strickland and twin drummer E.J. Strickland, and brothers David and Marque Gilmore. Stephanie McKay and her son. Cheick Tidiane Seck and his 2 daughters. Though individually not household names in various global markets yet, collectively they are a mighty force as they raise their voices as-one in representation of the struggle that continues and the unity that fortifies. Their excellence in past collaborations include Solange, Anthony Hamilton, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def, MeShell NdegeOcello, Jef Lee Johnson, Roberta Flack, Steve Coleman, Zap Mama, George Benson, Cassandra Wilson, Marcus Miller, Fela Kuti, Branford Marsalis, Bob Dylan, Bjork and D’Angelo. The song “Phenomenon” is the work of Neo Soul star Stephanie McKay, her Guadeloupe-born saxophonist husband Jacques Schwarz-Bart and their son. It details the anguish of young black boys to defy stereotypes and racial profiling. “The theme came directly from my personal experience having a 12-year-old son,” McKay shares, “watching how he has reacted emotionally to events happening in the world, what we’ve seen on TV, and what I experienced in protest. I witnessed rage…people reaching the edge…and losing hope. I wanted to give my son a musical meditation he could always come back to in his mind regarding his personal power to turn all of that pain into something beautiful – mentally and spiritually. To change his reality…the way Black people and others have always done globally in the face of racism. You have to reiterate the narrative of hope over and over and over again. It’s all we have. My son came up with ideas for the lyrics, background vocals and chorus melodies, I co-wrote the lyrics (with youth worker Corey DePina of Zumix) and the melody, and my husband arranged the music.” Across its 20 songs, Black Lives artfully addresses the realities, the rage and the resilience of darker hued people that have taken all they can take of racism. As Sharrif Simmons so eloquently expresses on “We Are Here”: We are here / Between lost bodies and deferred dreams / Here / Between stolen breaths and knees on necks / Here / Seeking justice / Speaking joy to fear / Here / We turn anger to action / Our passion / Unbroken In a world with eyes turned today toward Ukraine in an unspeakable battle against greed, power-mongering and mental instability, earth’s people are shown once again committing senseless tyranny and hatred upon innocent, non-threatening people. People of color around the world are painfully and intimately familiar with such atrocity. It was only two summers ago that all eyes were on America as Black people (with support from many folks of other cultures) were embroiled in a movement that came to be known as Black Lives Matter. While it focused on the unprovoked murders of innocent Black men, women, and children at the hands of American police, its cries and shouts echoed centuries of hatred and abuse battled by people of color – on the daily - on every continent.

Music Video Promo

Guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly remembers, “There was a lot to be inspired by in the summer of 2020. I was in D.C. at the time. I was going down to a lot of the protests. It was a very beautiful spirit. I’m a baby of the `60s. In my early teens that (uprising) was all kind of dying down, but my older brothers and cousins had been in the heart of it. As a young human being, I assumed that progress was going to continue. We had no idea those things could be stopped or reversed. It’s been a long time waiting for a generation to come that is just ‘not having it.’ That’s a beautiful thing to be a part of this. Even though I’m older, I’m still like that, too - waiting for that boat to come in.” The single/video “Sanga Bô” by Cheick Tidiane Seck of Ségou, Mali beautifully reflects the heart of Black Lives, depicting an elder engaged in call and response chants of strength and hope with children for a brighter tomorrow. Other highlights include the Opera-Jazz-Hip Hop piece “Walk” on which a wife sings of the importance of her man and sons returning home safe every night, and “Masters of Mud (Shape Shifting)” that’s like Richard Wright’s “Native Son” revisited in rhyme. There are also several instrumental meditations that speak with equal levels of poignance and power without using any words at all. Drummer E.J. Strickland muses, “I think this album is headed towards everyone that has a conscious mind about the realities we face, and all of those who wish to do something about it and not ignore it. It will also reach those that are deaf to all of those realities because of the artistry involved and the undeniable Truth behind the entire album.” Jazz griot sax man Oliver Lake adds, “Every person has to do their own part. My goal is to play music. When I pick up my saxophone, I’m playing it for World Peace. Music has the power to change the world and have a positive effect on human beings. The sound of music is very powerful.” Looking back on just the last five decades, the music world has been greatly effective in united pursuits to spread the word about social injustice. From 1985’s celebrity fueled strike against hunger “We Are The World” by USA For Africa, and that same year’s underground collective Artists United Against Apartheid’s rant against “Sun City,” to Hip-Hop’s Stop the Violence Movement “Self-Destruction” combatting gang violence in 1988 on up to Terri Lyne Carrington’s 2020 Grammy-winning group Social Science addressing a litany of problems on the album, Waiting Game.

Black Lives - from Generation to Generation is an anomaly in this empowering line of protest projects thanks to its scope of participation from artists ‘round the globe. Black Lives executive producer Stefany Calembert of Brussels, Belgium opines, “I have often been deeply disturbed by the air of superiority and the hypocrisy of white people. Let’s amplify the voice of Black lives across different parts of the world - across generations and diverse music styles.” Her husband, bassist Reggie Washington co-signs, “It’s an honor and a duty being a recording artist to address these problems. It seems to be the only way that we as human beings can address a large population to that which is obvious. With this set of tunes, I hope that we embolden ourselves with a loud voice to start a dialogue.” By A. Scott Galloway.

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