PeaceTones® takes a unique approach to addressing economic empowerment worldwide. We work with musicians as they can be powerful agents of change within their communities. We train these artists in legal, marketing, and community development tools, produce an album with them which we sell online, and send 90% of net profits back to artists, a percentage of which the artists agree to contribute to their communities through a development project.
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Musician Empowerment Creating Lasting Community Impact In Recife, Brazil
Recife, Brazil (May 2015) –
In the early days of PeaceTones®, our president was introduced to the incomparable Kurt Shaw and “Shine A Light.” Shine a Light teaches the digital arts to marginalized children all over Latin America, so that their communities can come to see themselves — and show themselves — in a new light. With PeaceTones’ dreams of musician empowerment and strengthening the rule of law in tow, it quickly became clear that this was a perfect place to start the PeaceTones® journey. For the last decade, Shine a Light has worked to use culture as a tool for peacemaking in the favelas of Recife, often supported by PeaceTones®. Their initial music, dance, and video projects developed a group of young leaders committed to make a difference. This laid the foundation for the development of a news channel called FavelaNews which has inspired real structural change in Recife and beyond. As Kurt, their Director, describes,
“In a 2011 research project we published as the Cartography of the Favela, we found two major reasons cited by young men and women for joining gangs: the desire to be respected and rage at an unjust world. Crime provided a way to be recognized as powerful and important, while guns offered one of the few ways to express rage into action. With a local news channel that recognized young people for the good things that they do, and offers a productive way to express their rage when the police or another gang kills their family or friends, FavelaNews has diffused two important motivations for violence. In addition to other channels to recognize young men and to express rage, FavelaNews has also created new role models. Passing through the streets of the favelas with the reporters, one hears little kids say, ‘Isn’t that such-and-such, the reporter?’ Previously, one had heard such hushed, reverent tones only in reference to gang leaders. Community leaders and small business people also feel themselves admired, and feel that their work is worthwhile.”
PeaceTones® and Shine a Light have long worked to show that culture and law can make important contributions to peacemaking. FavelaNews is proof of concept, showing that this model truly works, especially when we expand the idea of “law” to include the many formal procedures that people in marginalized communities use to express, think through, and resolve their problems. The goal of sustainable, lasting community development adds an even more depth to our partnership. Over time PeaceTones®, in its capacity as a fair trade music label, has sold and distributed Shine A Light music and DVDs in the 90-10 split model we pioneered. The proceeds of this collaborative endeavor were to be dedicated a community development project of the musicians choosing, demonstrating yet another way music and musicians can be positive agents for social change.
Last weekend, this vision came to life. Our original artists that we worked with years ago- Okado, Detefon, and Jonas- organized the first day of a series of events designed for positive and lasting community development. They hosted a breakdance competition for almost 50 dancers, then opened the stage for anyone else who wanted to participate with an audience of a cool 500 community members. Okado, Detefon, and Jonas will next meet with some of the most interested participants. Their plan is to run a series of dance workshops, rap workshops, as well as hire a professional silk-screener to train people in designing their own logos and shirts. The latter is a significant moment as there exist several big apparel makers whose expensive clothes stimulate young men to deal drugs so they can have the money to buy them. With cool local brands, they hope to undermine that logic and that hegemony, not to mention generate income and develop rule of law in the favela (contracts, SalesForce, taxes, etc)
The power of fair trade music at work!For more information on Shine A Light, visit http://www.shinealight.org/
PeaceTones® Pilot Project Draws Industry Leaders
Oakland, CA, USA (April 2015) – PeaceTones® has successfully begun month four of an unprecedented pilot project with the emerging artists of DetermiNation’s young black men’s group in Oakland, California. Meeting every Monday evening since early January, PeaceTones has supplemented their growing music expertise with practical business and legal tools and knowledge to supplement and enhance their understanding, marketability, and growth within the competitive music industry in the form of weekly workshops for DetermiNation members and working with accomplished local partners (from lawyers and community organizers to musicians and producers). Workshops have featured Oakland greats such as Larry Batiste (pictured), Kev Choice, Ian Brennan, Tajai Massey, and AshEl Seasunz. The collaboration with DetermiNation will culminate in a community music event in Oakland scheduled for August 2015, where DetermiNation members will showcase their lyrical and musical talents to the community under the theme of #DeterminedTo, one of their most successful media campaigns to date which portrays young black men in a positive light, particularly as relates to family and community. This event will also symbolize the kickoff of PeaceTones® formal, multi-partner Oakland community development project- “Sounds of Oakland”. Stay tuned for more information.