When I was first approached to be part of the Manifest:Justice music team along with Jeremy Sole, Azul Amaral, and Bradley Martin, I was eager to explore what DJ culture can bring to the conversation surrounding social justice. It quickly became apparent that LA DJs are not only exceptional for the obvious reasons, but also extremely knowledgeable and passionate about grassroots movements. We, as a community, have a unique perspective on the complex subject of what we can do to manifest justice today.
It was a massive undertaking to program DJs for nearly fifty hours over 10 days, May 1 -10, and to do so with such high-profile and in-demand talent. You couldn’t have an event with this agenda and not have it reflect in the music. We have LA DJs from all over the world playing bossa nova, hip-hop, indie rock, electronica, neo-soul, progressive house, classical, and everything in between – The Manifest:Justice DJ roster directly reflects the diversity of the dynamic LA music and culture scene.
Music and activism have always had synergy for good reason. Music has the ability to transcend intellectual barriers – it is a unifier and an equalizer. Sexual identity, gender, age, socioeconomic status, and race are irrelevant when you’re on the dancefloor. Music strengthens a movement and can communicate a feeling or spread a message efficiently.
August Brown wrote for the Los Angeles Times, “The origins of DJ culture and dance music are seeded with rebellion. Hip-hop artists from Public Enemy to NWA to Odd Future have challenged government, society and its structures. House, disco and techno were forged in black and gay subcultures in urban centers like Chicago and Detroit.”
Manifest:Justice is exploring the concepts of justice, human rights, power, and action. Music makes some of these unsettling yet necessary subjects more palatable; maybe it acts as a lubricant for change. For instance, the Angelenos that come to Manifest:Justice for the All-Star cast of musicians, DJs and producers curated by ArtDontSleep (Friday, May 1st) or for the RIS LABS x theLIFT for JUSTICE (Saturday, May 9th) come out to dance, but may be inspired to participate in the movement.
As a woman who grew up in a multiracial family, I have witnessed how diversity can enrich our society. Both positive and negative personal experiences have informed my decision to be a part of Manifest:Justice. Coming together in this way, with so much thought and creative expression, can only help.
The outpouring of support from the Los Angeles DJ community has been staggering.
“Music and Art have always played a part in communicating humanity’s aspirations for a more just and equal society. I chose to be a part of Manifest:Justice,” claims DJ BENNETT SCHMID “to share my creative voice in the conversation on race, social justice and equality in our communities here in Southern California”.
DJ TESSA YOUNG, the founder of a female DJ collective called “Prism DJs” says, “I am a multi-racial female of Chinese, Mexican, and Italian decent. I myself have encountered racism and sexism having been raised in a small town. Manifest:Justice has taken a creative approach in establishing awareness, and I stand behind this project 100%. I feel that art, music, and social media are the most effective ways to connect with this generation, and I am pleased to offer a conscious and empowering DJ set.”
“It’s important to discuss equality and justice BEFORE cities burn and the media makes it all about the destruction of property, instead of what it should be…a discussion about the destruction of lives,” espouses DIALLO RIDDLE
Manifest:Justice is providing an opportunity for us as both artists and activists to come together to start identifying solutions. DJ ALLIE TEILZ proclaims, “2015 is too future sounding of a year to be seeing racism, inequality, and hatred still promoted by our society. No more soul-crushing cases of unarmed black men killed by police and denied their future. I want to align myself with Manifest:Justice and use art as a way to promote a more empathetic future, starting from my community, and work to eliminate racism entirely from this planet.”
“I believe everyday that we are getting closer to being a united society where everyone is treated equally,” says DJ KONRAD PARKER. “I have been bashed and profiled, yet still believe that there’s good in all of us.”
According to DJ MICHELLE PESCE, who just returned from giving DJ lessons to school children in Uganda, “Something about the quote “If you’re not an activist, you’re an inactivist” has always hit me in the gut. I believe in educating ourselves even when the topic is uncomfortable, I believe in speaking up even when others don’t want to listen. If you even make one person question their stance, their actions… you are creating change. We need to stand up in an intelligent and passionate way and challenge the institutions and the minds that are holding progress back.”
ANA CALDERON mused that, “As artists we all have a very real and very necessary requirement to use our various forms of art to promote positive change in the world. Whether we are visual artists, poets or even DJs we each need to use whatever platform we are given to encourage love, community, progress, equality and justice whenever possible. For that reason I am super honored to be included in the DJ roster for Manifest:Justice LA.”
This country has a rich history of artistic activism and it is electrifying to be involved with action-oriented people providing art, music, film, and a platform to communicate in the best way we know how.
Below is a partial list of talent that will be featured during our Manifest:Justice DJ series. For a full line-up and schedule of events please visit ManifestJustice.org.
KCRW DJ JEREMY SOLE has had the honor of sharing the stage and studio with hundreds of his inspirations; Roy Ayers, Ben Harper, Tony Allen, DJ Shadow, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Seu Jorge, Antibalas, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Parliament, Quantic, Joe Bataan, and many more. He was the last DJ to open for Ray Charles, deejayed for Sly Stone’s birthday party, and was deejaying the California Democratic Party’s Election Night event, with over 10,000 people in attendance, when Obama officially became the 44th President.
DIALLO RIDDLE is a writer, actor and DJ born in Atlanta, GA. He has been nominated for an Emmy for his work as a writer and performer on NBC’s LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON. Prior to that, he graduated from Harvard University where he was editor of the Harvard Political Review. An avid fan of many genres of music, Diallo can be seen on this season of HBO’s Silicon Valley and in his own upcoming show, BROTHERS IN ATLANTA.
THURSDAY APRIL 30th, 7pm
In addition to hosting duties on KCRW, RAUL CAMPOS has been billed along with some of the world’s biggest talents, including deadmau5, Kaskade, Moby, Armin Van Buuren, Louie Vega, Paul Van Dyk, and Mark Farina, to name a few. He’s also opened for some of music’s greatest artists, from Martin Gore (Depeche Mode), Stevie Wonder and Cafe Tacuba, to Booka Shade, Groove Armada and Lionel Richie.
SATURDAY MAY 2nd, 12pm
ALLIE TEILZ says “I spin only records and am very inspired by the inclusive styles of Afrika Bambaataa from the Zulu Nation and Larry Levan, the genius behind Paradise Garage, seamlessly blending together eclectic funky tunes and genres, as long as they are rooted in a good groove. Peace, unity, love, and having fun, with lots of dancing in between.” Teilz has spun records alongside M83, opened for Frank Ocean and Lorde, and amassed a loyal cult following for her knockout mixes.
SATURDAY MAY 2nd, 5pm
JUN of Umoja Hi-Fi says, “We meet people who share the same passion to listen and dance. The music can set you free from the physical and it’s great for the spirit. You remember a song that had its time and space that made everything better–music is healing, moving with the rhythm unison. As a DJ, I crave new sounds for my sonic appetite; to find that tone that you’ve never heard that changes your perception on what you see and give you a sense of space. Looking for sound that can as well be a portal: sound ignites our imagination.”
SUNDAY MAY 3rd, 1pm
KCRW’s VALIDA whose specialty is a seamless blending of a variety of music styles and her reputation for fearlessly fusing everything from disco to country and beyond is one of LA’s most in demand DJs. “It is important to me that even with this simple task, like donating my time and artistry for a cause I believe in, I am shaping the world I believe in.”
SUNDAY MAY 3rd, 5pm
SETI X is an abandonment of time, space and relativity and represents Punjab, South Asian diasporic movements within hip-hop, from the bay to Bombay. SETI X attests, “I wanted to contribute to Manifest Justice because now is the time to seize the power. From Monsanto force-feeding genetic seeds to farmers in my homeland to the police terrorism against our black brothers and sisters in Baltimore, Oakland and beyond, the people must rise to seize the power. My musical contribution is a commitment to that energy and vibration of revolutionary love.”
SUNDAY MAY 3rd, 6pm
DAN MANCINI (LADYPILLS) is a New Zealand–born Los Angeles–based music and culture director, audio producer and internationally touring DJ who was voted Best DJ of 2014 in the LA Weekly Readers Choice Awards. From Ladypills, please expect a party set of boogie edits, world beat and rare groove running a Cinco De Mayo direct homage and link between our current LA widening class and official authority gap and the continued struggles of our many Mexican family cities to become independent both from the rock of corruption in government and the hard place of reliance on cartel finances for neighborhood survival. In respects to Manifest Justice and to Cinco De Mayo my playlist & time is dedicated to ‘Sor Juana de la Cruz’ (1651-1695) A Female poet & advocate for women’s rights.
TUESDAY MAY 5th, 6pm
SUBSUELO – a collective lead by DJ GOZER and DJ CODY CANYON, has been called by Urb, “one of Los Angeles’ illest, underground parties, has garnered the reputation as the melting pot between cumbia, electro, tropical funk, moombahton, trap, hip hop, and all points in between”
TUESDAY MAY 5th, 8:30pm
KCRW DJ AARON BYRD has opened for Groove Armada, James Blake, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Little Dragon, and Jose James and says, “I see music as an extension of human emotion and the songs I am drawn to most have a subtle sense of euphoria. Something that is not overwhelmingly bold, but undeniably powerful.” WEDNESDAY MAY 6th, 7:30pm
DJ SMILES DAVIS who has played for Stevie Wonder & Erykah Badu and alongside the likes of Z-Trip & Mayer Hawthorne brings a huge catalog of Soul, Latin, Afrobeat, Brazilian, Dub, Reggae, & other deep-rooted funk.
THURSDAY MAY 7th, 5pm
MICHELLE PESCE is the only DJ to ever spin 4x at music’s biggest night – the Recording Academy’s Official Grammy After-Party. Pesce mixes the flavor of hip hop with rock, electro, funk and pop while always keeping an old school vibe.
THURSDAY MAY 7th, 6pm
THE SINGULARITY says “I am very inspired to provide music that highlights the connections between us all, and contributes to the cause of love in all mankind. I am producer, songwriter and DJ “The Singularity” I like my music like I like my humans with a disregard for all boundaries.”
FRIDAY MAY 8th, 5pm
RIS LABS is an innovative collaboration as a Los Angeles based music label, design house and producer of well-crafted events. Their artist roster includes ERIC SHARP, BYSTANDER, GIVE IN, LES PROFESSIONNELS, WHITNEY FIERCE, HERNENE, AND WILD & FREE. Mr. Sharp and Sean Patrick lead this collective.
SATURDAY MAY 9th, 6pm
theLIFT for JUSTICE JEREMY SOLE with fellow LIFT co-founder DJ WISEACRE.
SATURDAY MAY 9th, 10p – the final night of Manifest:Justice.
Los Angeles producer DAN T is one half of COSMIC KIDS. He is an active contributor to the Chit Chat Records label and he has a forthcoming release on Young Adults. With Cosmic Kids, he has released original productions and remixes for Throne of Blood and Let’s Play House.
SUNDAY MAY 10th, 1pm