About this project
Music builds new communities.
It tells the unheard stories.
It creates bridges over walls.
March 17th, 2017 • SXSW @ Palm Door, 508 E. 6th Street • Austin, Texas
Artists from the banned nations live on stage.
Announced So Far: Khaled M (Libya/US), Mamak Khadem (Iran/US), Faarrow (Somalia/Canada), Ash Koosha (Iran/UK), Bassel and the Supernaturals (Syria/US)
Update as of March 1! We are overwhelmed and inspired by the support ContraBanned: #MusicUnites has received in the last six days! Most encouraging are responses from venues across the country and abroad wanting to this event to tour! We're about to hit our modest initial goal (THANK YOU EVERYBODY!), and have added a “stretch goal” to $23,000. There are two reasons for this. First we have been stunned by the wealth of incredible artists willing to be on this bill—much broader than anticipated, and the travel and accommodation costs for the amazing line-up are accordingly higher than anticipated. Second—predictably—we've moved our goalposts—additional funding will allow us to build on this momentum, toward more events that amplify this critical message of unity and diversity. There are still dozens of great Kickstarter rewards, with more being added, so please contribute, tell your friends to give before 12midnight EST on March 8th, and help us build our reach for ContraBanned: #MusicUnites!
The ContraBanned: #MusicUnites showcase at SXSW believes that building a more diverse and empathetic world starts with listening to each other’s voices. As agents, managers, presenters, promoters, journalists, artists, and audiences, we all have a part to play in amplifying this exchange. We need to make it our mission to use whatever power we have at our disposal—the power of media, the power of capital, and the power of music—to promote communication, collaboration, and understanding. At this critical cultural moment, the ContraBanned: #MusicUnites showcase gives a platform to artists from the diasporas of the often misunderstood and misrepresented Muslim-majority countries.
On Friday, January 27th, 2017, the White House issued an Executive Order banning entry to the U.S. for ninety days to the citizens of seven majority Muslim countries—Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—and banning entry to Syrian refugees indefinitely. Though the initial Executive Order has been temporarily suspended, it continues to have massive social and political impact.
For those who work to promote cultural diversity and inclusion in America, its impact has been disastrous. Artists are wary of coming to the US, hearing horror stories of airport detentions and cancelled visas. Arts presenters, labels, and agents are reluctant to risk working with foreign artists for fears of shifting immigration policies, which could scuttle a long-planned project.
This ban comes at a time when access to positive presentation of cultural diversity is more important than ever. ContraBanned: #MusicUnites affirms that music is universal, and can be a tool for positive change.
There is no more effective venue for communicating this message to the American culture industry than SXSW, and there are no organizations better suited to broadcast this message than the four collaborating on this project:
• Tamizdat, a 501(c)(3) cultural support organization, is the leading advocate regarding for- eign artists visa issues in the U.S.
• GlobalFest, also a 501(c)(3), is America’s leading showcase event and service organization presenting world music artists to the American music industry.
• PRI’s The World is a broadly syndicated radio program produced in collaboration with the BBC’s World Service, that provides international journalism and cultural news that illuminates the world to U.S. listeners.
• rock paper scissors is a music and technology PR firm made up of a team of twelve innovative, experienced people dedicated to deep storytelling, compelling music, best-in-field systems, and strong accountability.
Risks and challenges
This event will be produced by three groups with expertise needed to make it work. All have produced successful similar events at SXSW before. The only thing we don't have is the money to get the artists to Austin, and to give them a roof over their heads while they are here.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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