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Artist Spotlight: Music for Social Justice

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
Bassist Rodney Whitaker

A weekly feature showcasing local artists

Name: Music for Social Justice

What: This is a new video series from the College of Music at Michigan State University that will address issues of inequality through music. The nine-episode series includes new performances from MSU artists with brief commentary on why the music they chose is important to them.

Who: The series debuted Wednesday with a video from University Distinguished Professor of Jazz Bass and Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker, who also facilitates the college’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee. "This video series is important for the College of Music primarily because it makes a statement that we’re committed to equality and freedom for all, and that Black Lives Matter,” he said. Whitaker will perform his original composition titled “John Lewis,” which he wrote for the jazz pianist. 

The series continues with new postings from percussionist Gwendolyn Dease Aug. 26, saxophonist Diego Rivera Sept. 9, tenor Richard Fracker Sept. 23, trombone player Michael Dease Oct. 7, violinist Yvonne Lam Oct. 21, jazz guitarist Randy Napoleon Nov. 4, soprano Melanie Helton with Rodney Whitaker Nov. 18 and pianist Xavier Davis Dec. 2. 

Where: Learn more about the series at music.msu.edu and view it on YouTube at youtu.be/6QEN_mvAskw or watch the video below

Melody Baetens