This year Pitchfork Festival – babe of global music publication Pitchfork – celebrated its twelfth year of operation. From headliners like LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest and Solange, to those lesser-known, every artist had a message; worldly, personal or otherwise. But many were profound, and big picture. Many demanded social change and action.
Here are some Pitchfork artists supporting social change through their music and performance. You should add these to your favourite playlist immediately. Yep, that’s an order…comrade.
#1 Madame Gandhi’s Message: It’s Time For Women To Lead
Feminism and women’s empowerment is at the heart of everything Kiran Gandhi, aka Madame Gandhi does. Her debut EP Voices, features songs such as Her and The Future Is Female, and the message is clear – women are here to stay, and if you don’t like it, step aside! The Los Angeles-based artist popped her Pitchfork cherry playing drums for the inimitable M.I.A. back in 2013. Be sure to check out her badass all-female band too.
#2 Priests’ Message: Put A Finger-Up To Political Apathy
Priests won’t take any bullshit, and descriptions such as “redefining protect music”, “politicised punks”, “activist rock” are commonly used to describe the Washington four-piece. Lead singer Katie Alice Greer is fierce on stage, her voice bold and unique. In a time when political and social action is necessity, consider Priests leading the charge. Their debut album Nothing Feels Natural, was released in January this year.
#3 Dawn Richard’s Message: Love Is Equal (And Should Extend To Animals Too)
The R&B singer’s messages to the crowd at Pitchfork Festival were that love is equal and for all, no matter what your colour, creed or culture. The decree was welcomed with deafening applause and praise. Richard’s has also modelled for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) having recently turned vegan. Richard made the decision to both improve her health, and to object to the mistreatment of animals and environment in the production of meat and seafood.
#4 Vince Staples’ Message: Stop Glorifying Gang Culture And Get An Education
The Long Beach rapper sees education as a key solution to engaging young people and moving them away from gang culture and violence. Staples knows this first hand – he was himself a member of infamous gang the Crips as a teenager. His songs preach about the ugliness of violence, and the importance of progression. Need more proof? In March Staples tweeted: “Gang banging is out we’re onto this philanthropy.”
#5 Frankie Cosmos’ Message: It’s Ok To Be Depressed
Frankie Cosmos is the moniker of Greta Kline, and the New York singer-songwriter brilliantly captures what is to be young and unsure of yourself, even blue sometimes. Kline writes songs that make you feel included and safe, and asks questions of us that other pop culture shies away from. She fights the stigma surrounding mental health by accepting and discussing its reality. Kline has also said she writes for her own mental health; a habit we might all benefit from imitating.
Image Source: Music For Good.