Support for the adoption of a Black Live Music Fund in the Live Music Capital Of The World
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In September 2019, Austin City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that would allocate new Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) dollars towards live music in this city.
We, the undersigned, are non-Black Austin musicians and industry folk who demand that 50% of these funds are designated specifically to a Black Live Music Fund, as recently called for by Austin Music Commission Vice Chair, Jonathan 'Chaka' Mahone, of Riders Against The Storm.
This initiative is the necessary first step in what will be the ongoing work of building greater solidarity with and support of Black musicians.
The Black population of Austin has survived hundreds of years of systemic racial injustice that continues as blatantly and violently as ever in current times, despite the liberal contemporary identity of the City. While Black Lives Matter signs litter the manicured lawns of gentrified neighborhoods, Austin remains the most economically segregated city in the USA, largely along racial lines.
The entire East Side (where African-American residents were forced to live under racist zoning laws), was once a rich hub of Black heritage and influence with a handful of thriving Black-owned venues, who hosted international acts from Ray Charles to Tina Turner. The area is now overwhelmingly white and middle class, with the majority of Latinx and Black families forced once again to move on the whim of white people. White musicians often lament the cost of living in Austin. As Chaka put it: if the privileged can’t afford to live, what does that mean for the historically disenfranchised?
The heavily mythologized roll call of Austin music legends rarely acknowledges famous local Black artists, although most of the revered white artists play Black music. We call ourselves the Live Music Capital of The World - a mantle based on a reputation built by Black musicians and venue owners- yet Black musicians are the least funded and the least represented in the local music scene. Despite this, they continue to consistently excel and produce art that is lauded around the country and around the world.
The City’s Cultural Arts division supports countless programs and initiatives aimed at white, middle and upper class audiences, such as Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Baroque Orchestra. Now, the City needs to make a serious investment in a significant, Black-run institution to make a first, small step towards remedying this shameful historical oversight.
Supporters of this petition include
Shakey Graves, Max Frost, Jim Eno, Sir Woman, Amy Nelson, Beto Martinez & Greg Gonzalez (Brownout, Groupo Fantasma and Money Chica), White Denim, Mathew Logan Vasquez, Bright Light Social Hour, Walker Lukens, Graham Reynolds, Anton Pukshansky, Calliope Musicals, DJ Chorizo Funk, TC Superstar, Go Fever, Croy & The Boys, Big Bill, Otis The Destroyer, Löwin, Flora & Fawna, Springful, Daisy O'Connor, Batty Jr., Memory Keepers, Dossey, Pollen RX, Aubrey Hays Band, Lizzy Lehman, Van Mary, Much 2 Much, Cold Jackets, Parker Woodland, Maddy Hatchett, Scott Collins, Super Thief, Adam Protextor, Mamahawk, Booher, Marijuana Sweet Tooth, Lord Friday The 13th, Dena Hope, Geena Spigarelli, Collin Russell Mullins, Masculine Pain, Ismael Quintanilla III, Johnny Goudie, The Sour Notes, Otis Wilkins, MOTENKO, Dream Reamer, Lantic, Joseph Mach, Altamesa, Lolita Lynne, Born Again Virgin, They Weary Boys, The Joe Jacksons, Pelvis Wrestley, Grace Park, Graham Wilkinson and more.
Margin Walker Presents, Russell Baltera (C3 Prsents), The Paramount Theater, Heard Presents, Amy Lombardi (TuneCore), Empire Control Room and Garage, Cheer Up Charlies, Red River Cultural District, Laurie Gallardo, Elizabeth McQueen & Deirdre Gott (KUTX), Nine Mile Records, Reenie Collins (HAAM) Music Makes Austin, EQ Austin, Howdy Gals, No Play Music, Planet Claire Presents, Noise Pollution Booking, Austin Texas Musicians, SoundSync Music, On Vinyl Media, Eye In The Sky Collective, Adrienne Lake, Austin Town Hall Records, Kevin Curtin, Rachel Rascoe & David Brendan Hall (The Austin Chronicle), First Humans Records, Paul Carrubba (KUTX), Trevor Scott (CBS), Lars Wolfshield, Mike Manewitz, Super Secret Records and more
*** PLEASE DO NOT MAKE DONATIONS TO THIS CAMPAIGN- THEY WILL GO TO CHANGE.ORG. IF A FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN IS ORGANIZED FOR THE FUND, WE WILL LET YOU KNOW :) ***
Watch Chaka’s full speech delivered to the Live Music Working Group (6/11/20) here:
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