As things slowly start to come back to life in NYC, we're just starting to see gigs again, albeit in socially-distanced fashion. Livestreams are still happening often, and I've got one coming up later this month for Jazz @ Lincoln Center!
We'll be accepting digital tips for the bar's gofundme, as well as the band's payment. I'll be donating my portion to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has gained such momentum these past few weeks.
On that above note, I would be remiss if I didn't address the social unrest that has boiled over these past few weeks, especially in NYC. As someone who has dedicated their life to the pursuit of excellence in Jazz, an African-American artform, I stand in complete solidarity with my black brothers and sisters, and have been listening, learning, and reflecting on what I can do to better educate myself, and be actively anti-racist. It was deeply impactful for me to take part in the peaceful protests last week, highlighted by a musical march led by my old friend Jon Batiste & Stay Human...aside from the fact it was my first chance to see about two dozen friends who had all been quarantined like me the last few months, it was amazing to see thousands of people rallying together for this vital cause. The work for all of us is only beginning, and it is my hope that the rallying cries for #GeorgeFloyd , #BreonnaTaylor & so many others will lead to the kind of wide-scale reform and change we all are aiming for. Of course there is concern about Covid-19 as the protesters don masks and march shoulder to shoulder, but in this moment in history, I didn't want to look back and think I sat in my apartment while I could've been taking part in something. I have spoken at length on this topic on my other social media platforms, and have been sharing various literature and documentaries I've been using to educate myself - On Netflix alone, I recommend "13th" and "Let It Fall" as two gut wrenchingly necessary films every white person in America should watch.
Thank you all for always keeping in touch and remaining fans even during these tough, tough times. Hopefully things continue to get better as the Summer goes along, and I can be back out traveling, performing, and doing what I love for you all soon!
Benny Benack III