On Sunday, June 28th, over 50 artists and tens of thousands of fans came together for Justice Comes Alive, a one-day, virtual festival harnessing the power of music to bring about collective change in response to racial inequality. The donation-based streaming event generated $55,000 and counting in funds for the participating artists, who remain out of work as the pandemic continues, as well as a number of social justice-oriented causes via PLUS1 For Black Lives Fund.

In addition to musical performances by 50+ artists, the 12-hour live-stream marathon featured a number of illuminating conversations between respected musicians in our community about how we can all heed the call of the moment to address and eliminate racial inequality on both a personal and a societal level. Toward the end of the event, JCA co-host Nikki Glaspie (drums, The Nth Power) connected with lauded saxophonist and bandleader Karl Denson for a conversation about life in quarantine, the importance of this moment in history, and more.

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Denson, who many fans know well thanks to his role as the leader of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and a touring member of The Rolling Stones, The Greyboy Allstars, and more, admitted that he has been utilizing all of his newfound free time away from performing to work on his guitar playing, amongst other things.

After giving a shoutout to everyone who’s taken to the streets these last few weeks in hopes of helping spark some much-needed change, Denson told Glaspie, “I think we really are at a great inflection point in time that can be different if we use it to our advantage. … My message to everyone is to not take this democracy for granted. You know, we get spoiled and we think that this is normal, and what we have here … the Constitution and the way the United States is set up that actually allowed for us as enslaved people to become free. It’s because it was a really well-written document … That was useful when we, as Black people, looked at it … we found loopholes. And it was written for that purpose. It’s a living document.”

The two continued in using a sci-fi classic to illuminate how societies and the various peoples of the world continue to push towards the future and building on the world. As Denson explained, “Now, it’s time to become Star Trek! Like, the real Star Trek. … We’re in the year 2525 and everybody’s exactly the same. They get the same education, they get the same rights, they get the same everything. And we can get there if we believe in it.”

Denson continued, “As musicians, we kind of get a little bird’s eye view on it early in life of how we can communicate with each other. Art, sports, those things that allow you to communicate with each other right away. So maybe, everyone needs to start learning how to play an instrument.”

Relive the conversation between Nikki Glaspie and Karl Denson during Justice Comes Alive below. If you are able, please consider making a donation to Plus1 For Black Lives Fund via www.JusticeComesAlive.com.

Justice Comes Alive Conversations – Karl Denson & Nikki Glaspie

[Video: Live For Live Music]

Presented by Live For Live Music in partnership with PLUS1 and Nugs.TV, Justice Comes Alive was conceived as a way to harness the power of music to bring about collective change in response to racial inequality. All funds raised from Justice Comes Alive will be split evenly between the artists on the bill and the PLUS1 For Black Lives Fund, which was developed to address and continue the fight against anti-Black racism and violence in the U.S.

Directly supporting organizations like Equal Justice InitiativeImpact Justice, and The Bail Project, the PLUS1 For Black Lives Fund focuses on empowering Black communities, movement building, keeping people out of the criminal justice system while dismantling it more broadly, and a collective, international narrative change toward the equitable treatment of Black people. 30% of the PLUS1 for Black Lives Fund is also committed to small grants for Black and Indigenous-led grassroots efforts combating racism.

For more information on Justice Comes Alive, head here.