Posts Tagged ‘music’

Third laureate of the 2018 Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent now announced

May 27, 2018

On 27 May 2018 the Human Rights Foundation announced the third of three recipients of the 2018 Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent, Vietnamese pop star and democracy advocate Mai Khoi. HRF delayed this announcement for fear that the Vietnamese government would ban Mai from traveling as a result of her pro-democracy activism. Mai will be recognized in a ceremony during the 2018 Oslo Freedom Forum on Wednesday alongside the two other 2018 Laureates, underground group Belarus Free Theatre and South Sudanese musician and former child soldier Emmanuel Jal. [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/04/12/havel-prize-for-creative-dissent-2018-two-of-three-winners-announced-today/]

Khoi is an independent artist who is shaping public discourse in Vietnam. She reached stardom in 2010, when she won the highest award for songwriting in Vietnam. As a celebrity, Mai advocated for women’s rights, LGBT rights, and to end violence against women. More recently, she became the focal point of public discourse after nominating herself to run in the 2016 parliamentary elections. Her pro-democracy campaign sparked a nationwide debate about political participation and ultimately led to a meeting with then-U.S. President Barack Obama. Since running for parliament, Mai has had her concerts raided, has been evicted from her house twice, and is effectively banned from singing in Vietnam. In March 2018, she was detained at Hanoi airport on suspicion of “terrorism” after returning from a European tour.

Despite this harassment, Mai continues to find creative ways to spark conversation on art, human rights, and democracy. In February 2018, she released a new album, “Mai Khoi Chem Gio – Dissent.” In a review of the album, The Economist commented, “If music alone could break chains, this would be the music to do it.” Mai’s work aims to counter the authoritarian ways of thinking that justify social control. She is currently the subject of a feature-length documentary that is scheduled to air on Netflix in 2019.

Mai Khoi is outstanding in her commitment to human rights,” said Havel Prize Committee Chairman Thor Halvorssen. “Through her music and her campaigns, she has put civil liberties and democracy on the forefront of public conversation in Vietnam.

The Havel Prize ceremony will be broadcast live at oslofreedomforum.com at 3:00 p.m. Oslo time (GMT+2) on Wednesday, May 30.

https://mailchi.mp/hrf/2018-havel-prize-celebrates-vietnamese-musician-mai-khoi?e=f80cec329e

New human rights award: music to our ears!

December 8, 2017

The annual award will be presented in fall 2018 during the High Note Honors Concert in London. Proceeds from the concert and its worldwide broadcast will benefit the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Grammy Museum and the prize winner’s social justice charity of choice. The award will soon be added to THF’s Digest of Human Rights Awards: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest.

Courtesy of High Note Project

The High Note Music Prize is part of the High Note Project, a new global social justice initiative launched by philanthropic producer David Clark. Clark previously collaborated with Nelson Mandela on the 46664 series of charity concerts in support of HIV/AIDS, featuring performances by the likes of Bono, Beyoncé, Queenand The Eurythmics. Clark is an executive producer of the project as is Chantel Sausedo, whose other credits include producing the Grammy Awards for TV, the Laureus World Sports Awards and In Performance At The White House specials. 

Stuart Galbraith, CEO and founder of Kilimanjaro Live — the U.K. promoter behind heavy metal festival Sonisphere and the U.K. and European legs of the Vans Warped Tour — will be co-producing the Honors Concert in London. “We’re both pleased and proud to have been selected as the promoter of the High Note Honors Concert, which will be a significant global event for music and the artists of our time that are passionate about making a difference in the lives of others,” Galbraith said in a statement.

During the concert broadcast, the prize winner’s selected charity will also benefit from a Cause Flash social media campaign that aims to reach over 1 billion people worldwide. Conceived by Clark, Cause Flash was the digital platform behind Water Now, a social media campaign in support of UN World Water Day in 2015 that reached over 800 million people in seven days, marking the largest such campaign in history.

The High Note Project is supported by the UN Human Rights Office, which is launching a yearlong campaign on UN Human Rights Day to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. As this anniversary approaches, “the need for people to stand up to protect human rights is more vital than ever,” Laurent Sauveur, director of external affairs for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement. “Music is also a force to be reckoned with, and musicians have the power to mobilize. We are proud to help launch The High Note Project and High Note Music Prize in an effort to galvanize global awareness of the importance of human rights, and at the same time honor artists who passionately use their work to promote and protect the rights of others.

GRAMMY-nominated singer and social justice advocate Andra Day, whose song “Rise Up” became an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement, has also voiced her support for the Project: “I admire the mission of High Note and its decision to recognize musicians for their contributions through song”.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/02/28/and-the-nominees-are-oscars-for-human-rights/

https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/8062606/united-nations-high-note-music-prize-human-rights-award

The Hague Defenders Days from 5 to 10 December 2016

December 2, 2016

Justice and Peace NL with support from the City of the Hague and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is organizing “The Hague Defenders Days” from 5 to 10 December 2016. A wide range of activities (debates, films and even a ball) are planned culminating in the ceremony of the Tulip Award on Human Rights Day 10 December. Most activities are open to the public (but not the Tulip ceremony):

Let’s celebrate the International Human Rights – and Human Rights Defenders Days in the city of peace and justice! Take the opportunity to learn from their experiences and share your own. Meet human rights defenders, debate about your rights, think out of the box and dance at the Human Rights Ball. Discover the defender or rebel in you! Download the flyer.

PROGRAMME


Portraits of Dutch and international human rights defenders by photographers Anette Brolenius and Daniella van Bergen.

5-10 December / Het Nutshuis
11.00 – 16.00 – Admission: free
Click here for more information
 

Watch this documentary and be part of a global one year campaign for respect and equality.

6 December / Het Nutshuis
20.00 – Admission: free
Click here for more information
 

With: Nighat Dad, the Pakistani winner of the Dutch Human Rights Tulip Award 2016. 

7 December / The Hague University
19.30 – Admission: free
Click here for more information
 

What makes a human rights defender? With: Nighat Dad, Hans Jaap Melissen, Saskia Stolz en Hassnae Bouazza.

9 December / B-Unlimited (Library Spui)
20.30 – Tickets €10 / €7: www.b-unlimited.nl

Come and celebrate universal rights with 20 worldwide human rights defenders! With: Dj Socrates, Meet & Greet, Photobooth, live music…

10 December / Nutshuis
20.30 – Tickets €10 / €6: www.justiceandpeace.nl/humanrightsball

 

Source: The Hague Defenders Days

John Legend writes for Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign.

December 18, 2014

Award-winning singer/songwriter John Legend joined Amnesty International USA as part of its annual Write for Rights campaign. For Human Rights Day 2014 the Write for Rights cases included Chelsea Manning, victims of gun violence in the USA and Brazil, and women and girls of El Salvador impacted by the country’s abortion ban.

JOHN LEGEND:
Writing is a transformative experience.
I write songs to express myself.
I write songs to give hope.
I write songs to heal the hurt.
I write because living free from violence is a human right.
I write because I refuse to accept this is ‘just the way it is.’
I write because leaders who let their police forces jail, beat and kill people who are simply, peacefully trying to express themselves need to know the world is watching.
I write because I take injustice personally. Because there are no throwaway lives.
I write because silence feeds violence.
I write because lyrics change music, but letters change lives.

Indian star Celina Jaitly shows Erykah Badu the way

May 10, 2014

A few days ago Erykah Badu on Twitter remained obstinate over her scheduled performance in The Gambia. Other bloggers (e.g. http://yafri.ca/erykah-badu-faces-criticism-over-her-performance-for-gambian-president/) are adding to the noise by pointing out that President Jammeh’s regime consistently cracks down on the opposition and the media. In its submission to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Gambia, the human rights organisation, Amnesty International, stated “Since Gambia’s first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2010, the human rights situation in the country has deteriorated. The government continues to stifle freedom of expression and commit other human rights violations with impunity.” An online campaign has been put in place by web users to enlighten the singer about the Gambian dictator. See Facebook and twitter campaign of disapproval [@fatbellybella]. HOWEVER in the meantime it seems that Erykah Badu has decided NOT to attend Gambia’s much publicized Roots Homecoming Festival. Especially Gambian dissidents based in the United States have repeatedly prevailed on the Grammy winning artist not to attend the festival. ..Interestingly  the singer’s likely absence has angered Gambian artist Gibou Balla Gaye, who goes with the street name Gee.  Perhaps good to note here that Gee is the son of Balla Gaye, Gambia’s former Finance Minister. 

Anyway it is nice to be able to point to better examples, such as Celina Jaitly in India who tackled the taboo of gay relations. The United Nations Free & Equal Campaign published on 29 April 2014 this first-ever Bollywood music video for gay rights, featuring Bollywood star Celina Jaitly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lihVCIFamb0 [sorry you have CONTR/click as the embedding does not work – but worth a view!!].

https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/erykah-badu-unapologetic-about-her-human-rights-performance-and-plans-to-repeat-in-the-gambia/

http://www.freedomnewspaper.com/Homepage/tabid/36/newsid367/9872/Gee-The-Fake-Ass-Gambian-Artist-Is-Crying-Over-Erykah-Badus-Failure-To-Attend-Gambias-Roots-Homecoming-Festival–/Default.aspx

Erykah Badu unapologetic about her human rights performance and plans to repeat in the Gambia

May 2, 2014

SXSW Film-Interactive-Music - Day 9

(Erykah Badu performs onstage 15 March 2014 in Austin; Roger Kisby—Getty Images)

The misuse of star power by Erykah Badu referred to in an earlier post got a nice follow up according to the opinion piece posted by Thor Halvorssen and Alex Gladstein in TIME of 2 May 2014. After recalling in detail her singing for the Swazi absolute monarch [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/another-case-of-misused-star-power-erykah-badu-performs-for-swaziland-dictator/], the authors describe Badu’s defensive and sometimes offensive comments in the social media: Read the rest of this entry »

Another case of misused star power: Erykah Badu performs for Swaziland dictator

April 30, 2014

In the series of ‘star power’ for bad causes, American R&B singer Erykah Badu attended the 46th birthday party of King Mswati III of Swaziland on Thursday 24 April, where she sang “Happy Birthday” and dedicated her first song to the “sons of Kings”. The singer has been involved in a number of philanthropic ventures, including Artists for a New South Africa, which works to “advance human rights,” but her visit to Swaziland does not seem to fit in with this. Jeffrey Smith, an advocacy officer at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, said it was “highly unfortunate that someone of Erykah Badu’s international stature would use her star power for inherently reprehensible reasons — namely, to provide legitimacy, and, in a sense, endorse a brutal dictator who both manages and directs every facet of Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

Journalist Bkheki Makhubu and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko are currently imprisoned in Swaziland https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/swaziland-should-immediately-release-two-human-rights-defenders-arrested-on-17-march/ 

On Monday, Miss Badu tweeted: “I have no political affiliation to anything besides my AFRO. However, I will stand with any group opposing injustice. But not on twitter.” She then retweeted a comment by a man named Joe Black that read: “[Erykah Badu] owes NOBODY an explanation of why she performed in Swaziland. She’s a professional artist, not some phony rights defender.” Remarkably on Tuesday, Miss Badu tweeted that she was not paid for the Swaziland event.

via Human rights groups demand answers after Erykah Badu performs for Swaziland dictator – Washington Times.

for other posts on star power see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/star-power/

Mourning “Ndinga Man” – Cameroon’s famous musical dissident

March 24, 2014

In Foreign Policy magazine of 19 March, Alex Gladstein has written a very complete and moving story about the great Cameroonian musician, political prisoner and human rights defender,  Lapiro de Mbanga. He died of cancer this past Sunday, 16 March 2014, in Buffalo, New York. Known as “Ndinga Man” to millions of Cameroonians, Lapiro escaped President Paul Biya’s regime in 2012, after three years of political imprisonment. He received asylum in the United States.

Mourning a Musical Dissident.

Rihanna adds star power to campaign for gay rights in Russia

February 18, 2014

Last week I blogged about the mixed record of star power (https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/star-power-and-human-rights-a-difficult-but-doable-mix/) and it is nice to add a positive example: Rihanna.
Rihanna has 34 million followers on Twitter.
On 16 February 2014 Faith Karimi and Neda Farshbaf wrote for CNN how pop star Rihanna is adding major star power to the campaign for gay rights in Russia. The singer behind hits such as “Disturbia” and “SOS” tweeted a photo of herself wearing a hat emblazoned with P6, short for Principle 6. This campaign speaks out against Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law as the nation hosts the Winter Olympics. And Rihanna has 34 million followers on Twitter! The photo links to her Instagram account, which has about 12 million followers. In subsequent tweets, she posted links to other articles highlighting the issue.

Rihanna adds star power to P6 campaign for gay rights in Russia – CNN.com.

Grammy-winning Esperanza Spalding performs on-line against Guantanamo tomorrow

January 28, 2014

Grammy award-winning Esperanza Spalding and Human Rights First bring a LIVE online broadcast of Spotlight on Guantanamo, a night of performance and discussion from Washington, DC’s historic Lincoln Theatre. In November 2013, Esperanza Spalding launched her new music video titled ”We Are America” to urge Congress to close Guantanamo responsibly. You can watch the live stream via the link below starting at 19h00 (Washington DC time) on Wednesday 29 January.

via Spotlight on Guantanamo: An Evening with Esperanza Spalding [Live Stream] | Human Rights First.