BY EMELINA MINERO
The LGBT Academy of Recording Arts (LARA) launched a social media awareness campaign, Freedom of Expression = Music Equality (FOE=MEQ). The campaign serves to commemorate LARA’s 25th anniversary, celebrate the 9th production of the OUTmusic Awards and emphasize the importance of supporting LGBT artists.
Not only is LARA hoping to raise awareness about the importance of championing queer musicians and the impact that music created by queer people has on both queer and mainstream culture, they’re also using this campaign to raise $200,000 to fund the upcoming OUTmusic Awards and a documentary about the awards, “For Which WE Stand (One Queer Music Nation in The Visible).”
“This film and the live production of the OUTmusic Awards is integral to the Academy’s mission to document and archive our movement and history,” said Diedra Meredith, Chairwoman of OUTmusic.
“Our goal is to create more opportunities for LGBTQ recording artists and ensure that queer music culture be included as an integral platform in the music industry,” said Meredith.
The documentary will interweave live footage from the OUTmusic Awards as well as interviews with LGBT artists and allies such as Michael Musto, Dolly Parton, Melissa Etheridge, Frenchie Davis, Diana King, Chely Wright and Tona Brown.
LARA is taking on the important task of ensuring that the LGBT community’s contributions to music are recorded. Mainstream media often omits the minority in documenting history and those stories go untold. LARA believes that part of the fight for equality is inclusion in mainstream history, that LGBT voices need to be heard and amplified. LARA’s mission is to highlight LGBT artists who have contributed to the music world and to bolster the voices of those who are currently making contributions. They work to ensure that the stories of LGBT artists are included in the annals music history.
“It is important that OUTmusic Awards be included and celebrated in media, music and entertainment history just as the Latin Grammy Awards, the Country Music Awards and the Black Entertainment Music Awards. The more LGBT people are included, acknowledged and celebrated for their achievements and contributions, the more impact we can make in changing hearts and minds to erase the stigmas,” said Meredith.
LARA is hoping that through FOE=MEQ they will also help highlight the importance that music plays in our self-expression and in impacting our culture.
“It is important that LGBT people express their authentic emotions and images through their music, art, acting, performance art and writing,” said Meredith.
FOE=MEQ is about more than highlighting the importance of freedom of expression. It’s also highlighting LGBT musicians and artists and bringing the LGBT community together over a common goal: freedom and equal representation.
LARA is run completely by passionate volunteers, and all of the money raised in the current campaign will go toward the production of the 9th OUTmusic Awards and “For Which WE Stand (One Queer Music Nation in The Visible).” OUTmusic, Inc., is a nonprofit and donations are tax deductible. LARA is hoping to get 200,000 people to make a $1 donation to reach their $200,000 goal.
As part of their fundraising effort, LARA has partnered with various out and ally artists to help spread the word about FOE=MEQ, including the cast of the web series “Producing Juliet,” film director Sean Robinson, Kristen Henderson of Antigone Rising, Jamaican recording artist Kat C.H.R. and many more.
Each week, LARA will release a new FOE=MEQ photo from their campaign on their Facebook page highlighting a different artist and what freedom of expression means to them. To join the campaign, visit the FOE=MEQ website. Donations to the fundraising campaign can be made here.