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If you’ve never heard of Free The People before, it’s best described as a strategy for liberation based in music, culture, and healing, in the spirit of “by any means necessary.”

Earlier this fall, community organizers put together a free show to unify the city in the aftermath of 12-year-old Ty’re King’s death at the hands of police. As the city reeled in the aftermath of yet-another killing of an unarmed civilian (a kid no less), Vada Azeem, Keisha Solei, and James Hayes came together with one goal in mind. The objective was to bring people together to heal, and to turn individual pain and grief into the collective power needed to reorganize the entire world.

Don’t think of Free the People as a concert nor as a protest. Hayes says, “Free The People transcends a concert or a protest. It is a movement of artists and cultural workers to fight for the soul of America. We put the first event together in response to the murder of 13 year old Ty’re King. Ty’re became the sixth high profile victim of police brutality in Ohio, and we knew that people were hurting deeply. We needed to pull something together that could meet people’s need for healing and justice. Music is one of the most potent weapons we have in our struggle for liberation, and the only one we felt could meet both of those needs at once.”

The first Free The People was held at the old Douglass Elementary, near the spot that the police shot and killed King. The stage was graced with artist like Vada, Nes Wordz, Armond Wakeup, Keisha Soleil and more. Organizers are looking for indoor venues to hold future events, with an aim to host Free The People shows on the regular.

If you’re looking to be involved with Free The People,  you can contact James Hayes at contrabandjames@gmail.com.

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