Tae Phoenix • Resistance Music

$3,600 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 72 people in 7 months
I’m in the pre-production process for my next resistance song, which was inspired by the historic civil rights anthem and African American spiritual “We Shall Not Be Moved.” I was inspired to engage with this incredible material after singing it during civil disobedience at an anti-racist protest.

Backers of this GoFundMe will receive downloads of all of the resistance and social justice songs I write and record and my undying gratitude.

Please see below for more about the music I'm working on, including a note about cultural appropriation. 

About "We Shall Not Be Moved"

On August 13, a white supremacist group held a rally at Westlake Park. We had a huge counterprotest that started at Denny Park. Our plan was to march to Westlake and confront the white supremacists.

We found ourselves in a standoff with Seattle Police Department at the corner of 2nd and Pine. The police did not want us to get to Westlake and began firing off flash bang grenades and pepper spraying people. They threatened to arrest us all if we didn't clear the intersection. 

Instead of obeying, several hundred of us took a knee and began singing "We Shall Not Be Moved." 

I was completely terrified. It's not easy to disobey a direct order from a phalanx of heavily armed riot cops. I'm proud of myself and the hundreds of other people who participated. I want to encourage more of this kind of peaceful civil disobedience in the years to come as we fight the white supremacist backlash and continue to make progress towards true equity and human decency in the United States and around the world.

The Lyrics

Statement on appropriation

The original song, “I Shall Not Be Moved” is an African American spiritual. It was likely written by an enslaved person sometime in the early 1800’s, but the formal publishing credit was given to two white male gospel composers in 1908. In the 1960’s, the song was repurposed as a protest anthem by Americans fighting for racial and economic justice; though sometimes not together. Over time, the song passed into the "American Folk Music" domain and has been recorded by many performers including Mavis Staples, Ella Fitzgerald, and Joan Baez.

I am aware that my choice to engage with this material is inherently problematic. History is full of people who look like me taking credit for and making money from the work of people who are darker-skinned. After a great deal of deliberation, I have chosen to go ahead with this project with the following commitments:

• I will investigate and acknowledge the history of the material I am working with. I will only take credit for work that is actually mine.*
• Where I borrow artistically from traditions that are not my own, I will use those traditions only for their intended purpose. I will not do this perfectly, but I will be thoughtful in my choices and exercise mature judgement in responding to criticism.
• I will only take what I need economically. Anything I do not need will be contributed to grassroots organizations that are run by and built for the liberation of marginalized populations. A more detailed business plan is forthcoming and I encourage anyone who is curious for more details to contact me through my website at www.taephoenix.com.

* In the spirit of transparency: The lyric, “we are rising, but we are not the hate we see” was inspired by Bernice King when she said , “if we awaken without becoming the hate we see, we will be lifted.” The lyric "stand our sacred ground" is inspired by the work of Brené Brown.

About "Personally"

Just after the election, a family member who voted for Trump told me not to take his choice personally. The song I wrote in response was angry and challenging, and it has inspired a lot of people. Since the inauguration, I’ve been asked to perform it at dozens of marches and rallies all over the Pacific Northwest.

Thanks to the original generous backers of this GoFundMe, I was able to arrange and record “Personally” with Dave Miner, a longtime collaborator of mine. What resulted was a highly danceable electropop anthem, one that many have found inspiring and uplifting in a time when we desperately need it. 

You can listen here:

A little bit more about me

For those of you who don't know me, you can learn more (and find links to my social media presence) here: https://taephoenix.com/#bio

You might also be interested in knowing that I spearheaded the effort that resulted in the "We Outnumber Him! Resist!" banner that flew over the Statue of Liberty on Inauguration Day. You can learn more about the subvertising collective behind that effort here: www.resistanceair.com.

Photo credits from top: Crosscut, Everett Herald, Seattle March for Truth, Seattle Indivisible, Adria Quinones.
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I was feeling inspired last night, so here's an acoustic performance straight from my bedroom. :-)
Acoustic Performance :-)
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So grateful for the generous contributions of Leslie Brown, Tyna Ek, V. (anonymous contributor), Rama Yannam, Jonathan Tong, Janet Neice, and Andrea Small for kicking the second wave of this campaign off with a bang.

I am also grateful to Reverend Harriet Walden for calling me on important aspects of the problematic nature of me engaging with this material.
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A quick update here to say that I've revamped the campaign to reflect the next project I'm working on: a take on the historic civil rights anthem and African American spiritual “We Shall Not Be Moved.” I was inspired to tackle this incredible material after engaging in civil disobedience during an anti-racist protest in response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville.

I've got the story behind the protest, song lyrics, and more goodies on the main campaign page! Come check it out! :-)
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A quick update for you wonderful supporters. Dave and I have been mixing, EQ'ing, and fixing the bits that aren't working. If all goes well, I should have a final mix and master to share with you early this week, possibly as soon as this evening!

Thank you again for your support. I can't wait to share this song with you!
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Raised by 72 people in 7 months
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