On October 3rd, Kam Franklin of The Suffers took part in Democracy Comes Alive, a one-day, nonpartisan virtual music festival aimed at channeling the power of music to make a critical impact on civic engagement in this November’s elections and beyond. Though each of the 50+ artists and 10+ speakers throughout the day came together for the cause of getting out the vote, the mission was particularly close to the heart of Franklin, who both performed a song by The Suffers and helped kick off the ten-hour livestream marathon by taking part in a discussion with host Ari Fink of SiriusXM and HeadCount executive director Andy Bernstein in her capacity as a member of HeadCount’s Board of Directors.
As Bernstein explained, he was introduced to Kam by Jim James during a HeadCount tour of college towns a couple of years back. Even before he had heard her perform and earn “the biggest applause of the night,” Andy was so taken with her worldview that he immediately knew he wanted to have her involved with HeadCount. Since then, she’s been one of the people Bernstein “[turns to] for advice on key things.”
In addition to speaking about the political and cultural growth going on in her hometown of Houston, Kam discussed the mindset that she developed growing up in the relatively liberal city within a historically conservative state. “To live in Houston, to exist in Houston, you grow up being non-partisan,” she explained. “You grow up knowing that everything’s not going to work out your way, especially me being a Black woman, I have gotten to learn a very slow, progressive way that not only would I have to think differently, speak differently, live differently to just exist in a safe way, but as the world continues to change … I am so grateful to be alive in this era. I feel like this period of change is something that I heard about growing up that it would one happen, but … it never really seemed that close or within grasp. … I feel that with involving myself with initiatives like what we see with HeadCount, what we see with Democracy Comes Alive, by donating my time to causes that are much bigger than me … it’s a basic representation of where I come from, in a city that has always had to come together to get those little changes made.”
Kam went on to explain how her Houston upbringing played a role in her developing a passionate position on the imperative for civic participation and the people taking matters into their own hands. She also spoke about the process by which she helped bring more diversity to the HeadCount board. “Being able to come to Andy and say that this board is not diverse for me to feel vocal about the things that I need to say, and not just in terms of Black and white but in age and women … Andy listened, and was vocal about how, ‘Yeah, we could improve on that’ and how, ‘Yeah, I was right about that’ … Two years later as we’ve gone through certain changes, bringing younger people onto the board, HeadCount has had now more access to things and to more people that I don’t think they would’ve had had Andy not done just the simple task of listening to a Black woman every once in a while [laughs].” She went on to explain how that attitude of open-mindedness and desire to learn and grow to can benefit all corners of the music industry going forward.
Watch the full Democracy Comes Alive Conversation between Ari Fink, Andy Bernstein, and Kam Franklin below:
Democracy Comes Alive Conversations – Ari Fink (SiriusXM), Andy Bernstein (HeadCount), Kam Franklin (The Suffers)
In addition to her enlightening conversation with Ari and Andy, Kam Franklin donned her lavish stage getup for a performance of The Suffers’ new tune. As Kam noted to kick off the energetic performance, “This is the new song by my band, The Suffers, all the way out of Houston, Texas. If you’re not familiar, my name is Kam Franklin, I came to spread joy. Temporarily—but I need you to participate. How you gon’ do that? We’re gonna shake all that negative energy off, let’s try it together!” With that, Franklin dove into the joyous release of “Take Me To The Good Times“. Though she performed over a recorded backing track, the undeniable energy she brought to the clip gave it the untamable electricity of a true live performance.
Relive the colorful performance of “Take Me To The Good Times” by The Suffers from Democracy Comes Alive below. If you enjoyed the performance and have the means, consider making a donation to HeadCount and the Democracy Comes Alive artists via DemocracyComesAlive.com.
The Suffers – “Take Me To The Good Times” – Democracy Comes Alive
Kam Franklin of The Suffers joined over 50+ performers and 10+ other speakers as part of Democracy Comes Alive, presented by Live For Live Music in partnership with voter registration nonprofit HeadCount. The 10-hour streaming event, powered by Nugs.TV and Plus 1, generated $40,000 and counting in funds for HeadCount as well as the participating artists, who remain out of work as the pandemic continues. In addition to the funds generated, Democracy Comes Alive led thousands of people to HeadCount’s tools to check your voter registration status and register to vote. For more information, head here.