Los Angeles based artist and activist Monique DeBose is calling the masses to action with her powerful new single “Rally Call.” The song is a call for liberation, an anthem for the disenfranchised.
It was on this day in 1955 that Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago, was abducted from his uncle’s home in Money, Mississippi, by two white men after supposedly whistling at a white woman. His body was found days later, and both of his murders were acquitted by an all-white male jury in just a matter of hours. The images of the open-casket funeral, which his Mother insisted on, showing the world the magnitude of the violence he endured, help to spark the Civil Rights Movement.
Eight years later, on August 28th 250,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to hear Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Forty-three years after Dr. King’s speech, on August 28th at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado, Barack Obama became the first black man to accept the Democratic nomination for President, going on to be the first black President in U.S. history.
Twelve years to the date after Barack Obama accepted the Presidential nomination, the United States is seeing people take to the streets in unprecedented numbers, in the painful wake of the violent and unnecessary deaths of George Flloyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott and dozens more, and most recently Jacob Blake who just days ago nearly lost his life after being shot numerous times in the back by Wisconsin police officers.
DeBose wrote “Rally Call” with Isaac and Thorald Koren as a call to action for the oppressed and those who have lived under the heavy weight of systemic racism for hundreds of years. The performance footage in the video was shot during the height of the George Floyd protests at the Great Wall of Crenshaw, a Los Angeles landmark depicting pivotal figures from African American history. The chorus calls out to “get rid of those papers,” a reference to a time in history when black people were unable to go out in public on their own without papers that demonstrated who they “belonged” to. As a mixed-race woman, DeBose knows all too well about “playing a role,” having had to oscillate back and forth between the two worlds she lived in, black and white.
“I see this song as medicine, plain and simple,” says DeBose. “The message is the truth, the music makes it palatable. Share this video with the world so that we don’t slip back into complacency. Let this song be the reminder that you need to keep speaking out and standing for what serves us all.”
DeBose is encouraging everyone to join the “Rally Call” through three key initiatives, Voting, Education, and Sharing.
DeBose holds a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology and a BA in Mathematics from UC Berkeley. Monique calls Los Angeles home, is married to a Brit, and is raising two compassionate, culturally intelligent boys. Her life and upbringing, being raised by an African American father from the segregated South and Irish American mother from upstate New York, is the inspiration for her work, pushing people to step out of seeing themselves and the world, as black or white, but to embrace all of who they are and to live life in full color.
DeBose honed her craft at Billy Higgin’s famous World Stage jazz club in Leimert Park, as well as in various jazz bands. She is a trained jazz vocal improviser, and once led a community of over 500 improv singers across the world. In 2005 and 2007, she released two albums – Choose the Experience (featuring Kamasi Washington) and Choose the Experience 2 – and performed internationally, in India, China, London, and Amsterdam.
This idea of “Living Life in Full Color” is the driving force behind her artistic output. DeBose received rave reviews for her one-woman show “Mulatto Math: Summing up the Race Equation in America” winning the Producer’s Encore Award at the Hollywood Fringe Festival before being transformed into a workshop which she has performed at UCLA and MindValley. DeBose was also a featured artist and performer at TEDx where she performed “Rally Call” live.
For the release of “Rally Call,” DeBose is donating a portion of the proceeds to Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, who are celebrating their 15th Anniversary this year. With over 1.7 million members, Color of Change works to move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.
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