On Sunday, June 28th, Turkuaz participated in Justice Comes Alive, the day-long music marathon benefitting the PLUS1 For Black Lives Fund which raised over $55k for organizations like Equal Justice Initiative, Impact Justice, and The Bail Project, as well as Black and Indigenous-led grassroots organizations combating racism.
“When asked to be a part of Justice Comes Alive, we were, of course, eager and enthusiastic to participate and help this cause in any way possible,” Turkuaz frontman Dave Brandwein explains, “But just doing one of our old songs and sending it in didn’t feel right, so I decided to write something new, and to try and put some thoughts and feelings into a song based on the dire social issues we face in this country.”
The result is “The Sideline”, the latest track from the nine-piece funk ensemble. The song is an appeal to all listeners to pause and educate themselves on the ways systemic racism continues to permeate our society. The live rendition of the new song features also features percussion by Yahuba Garcia-Torres, who was previously set to join Turkuaz this summer for the band’s Remain In Light tour dates celebrating 40 years of the seminal Talking Heads album.
In the wake of the protests around the globe calling for more dire attention on racial inequity, Turkuaz has proudly taken a more defined stance on the topic, recognizing all BIPOC, including Native and Indigenous people, have been marginalized and held at an insurmountable disadvantage for hundreds of years. Brandwein continues, “We stand with Native Americans who were the natural inhabitants of this country. We stand with Black Lives Matter firmly, and in this song we explore why you can no longer be on ‘The Sideline.’ You are either actively anti-racist, or you are complicit.”
“If you play American popular music in any form, it’s derived from a rich tradition of black artists and innovators who shaped the cultural bedrock of our country,” Brandwein elaborates. “With our style of music, we’re especially aware of this—and though we’ve typically been apolitical as far as the public eye is concerned, this latest push for civil rights isn’t politics. It’s common sense and pure moral decency.”
As Brandwein explains of the new tune, “At the end of the day, it’s still a Turkuaz song. It’s upbeat and does not sound or feel as dark as the lyrical content is. You can dance to it. But we aren’t afraid of that. We play the music we like with the words we want to say. We are honored to carry on the tradition of this music in our own way, but we feel an obligation to start being active allies in the fight for a future where justice truly comes alive. No longer will we sit on the sideline.”
Watch Turkauz debut “The Sideline” at Justice Comes Alive below. If you enjoyed the performance and have the means, consider making a donation to Plus1 For Black Lives Fund via www.JusticeComesAlive.com.
Turkuaz – “The Sideline” (Debut) – Justice Comes Alive
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 Initiative, Impact 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.