Local Current Blog

Ten of the many Black Minnesota artists you can support on Bandcamp this Juneteenth (and always)

Lady Midnight at The Current, 2019. (Mary Mathis/MPR)

Juneteenth (June 19) commemorates Black freedom and is recognized as a “time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future.” It is often celebrated with picnics, celebrations, guest speakers, and family gatherings.

The origins of Juneteenth date back to June 19th, 1865, acknowledged as the day that the remaining African-American slaves in the Confederacy were freed. This was two and a half years after the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863.

This year, and every Juneteenth to come, Bandcamp is donating 100 percent of its sales revenue to NAACP in support of protests against police brutality that have taken place worldwide after the killing of George Floyd. In addition, Bandcamp will be allocating $30,000 per year towards various organizations to help in the fight for racial equity.

If you’re able, make it a practice to financially support Black musicians regularly. Below are 10 of the many local Black musicians, including bands with Black members, on Bandcamp; click on each artist’s name for their Bandcamp. The platform will also be waiving its fees and passing all money directly to artists on July 3. For more music by Black artists with Minnesota ties, see this thread from Local Show host Andrea Swensson.

Dwynell Roland

Dwynell Roland has been rapping in Minneapolis since age 13. That time and energy invested in his craft is obvious when watching him perform today. He has released music individually and as a part of a few local groups. Hear his recent interview with Jill Riley.

Sophia Eris

Sophia Eris is a centering force in the Twin Cities music scene as a rapper, DJ, former radio show host, and active collaborator. Eris is also actively invested in the Twin Cities community at large. Hear her recent interview with Jill Riley.

SYM1

SYM1, fka Symone Smash It, creates otherworldly music. The electropop artist and producer brings energy and surrealism to every song and performance.

Nur-D

Nur-D is a prolific rapper with a positive outlook and his desire to do good for others can be seen in his day-to-day life as well as his music. As of late, Nur-D has been helping out as a part of the Frontline Justice Crew as a street-medic serving wounded protesters.

Seaberg

Seaberg and their band can move from punk to R&B to metal in a single song. They’ve always been active politically and have certainly not stopped demanding change over the past few weeks.

Gully Boys

Gully Boys bring energy to any crowd with catchy, melodic and raw songs. They’ve created much buzz in the Twin Cities these past few years and recently created a limited edition T-shirt, the proceeds of which were donated to West Broadway Business and Area Coalition.

Lady Lark

Lady Lark is a force of confidence and light in the local scene. She delivers pop, soul and funk in her own music and in her collaborations with other local musicians. On The Current’s morning show, she talked with Jill Riley about community and action at all levels.

Lady Midnight

Lady Midnight creates an all encompassing experience with her music with exceptional vocals, unique sense of style and creative performances. She talked with Jill Riley this week about the uprisings and looking ahead at the future.

P.O.S

P.O.S is a cofounder of local rap collective Doomtree. Known as a rapper, producer and punk philosopher, P.O.S is known for creating unique soundscapes in his songs that pull from many influences.

Miloe

Miloe began a few years ago as a Soundcloud project. Their dreamy indie rock made them a favorite of basement shows and quickly garnered them attention from the larger Twin Cities scene. Although their upcoming tour was cancelled, Miloe is keeping in touch with their community and the current uprising on Twitter.

Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond’s full statement: 

The recent killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the ongoing state-sanctioned violence against black people in the US and around the world are horrific tragedies. We stand with those rightfully demanding justice, equality, and change, and people of color everywhere who live with racism every single day, including many of our fellow employees and artists and fans in the Bandcamp community.

So this coming Juneteenth (June 19, from midnight to midnight PDT) and every Juneteenth hereafter, for any purchase you make on Bandcamp, we will be donating 100% of our share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a national organization that has a long history of effectively enacting racial justice and change through litigation, advocacy, and public education. We’re also allocating an additional $30,000 per year to partner with organizations that fight for racial justice and create opportunities for people of color.

The current moment is part of a long-standing, widespread, and entrenched system of structural oppression of people of color, and real progress requires a sustained and sincere commitment to political, social, and economic racial justice and change. We’ll continue to promote diversity and opportunity through our mission to support artists, the products we build to empower them, who we promote through the Bandcamp Daily, our relationships with local artists and organizations through our Oakland space, how we operate as a team, and who and how we hire.

Beyond that, we encourage everyone in the Bandcamp community to look for ways to support racial equality in your own local community, and as a company we’ll continue to look for more opportunities to support racial justice, equality and change.


Compiled by Sylvia Jennings and Darby Ottoson