Bleachers, Sara Bareilles, Elle King & Lena Dunham for Talent Show Benefiting Homeless LGBTQ Youth

Jack Antonoff and Lena Dunham at an Ally Coalition concert. Photo: Rebecca Sapp/

By James Pleasant

Talented musicians and comedians will join forces for a night of good music and laughs on December 1 for The Ally Coalition’s second annual talent show to support homeless LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) youth.

The talent show, taking place in NYC’s New World Stages, will feature performances from Bleachers, Sara Bareilles, Lena Dunham, Elle King and more.

The Ally Coalition, a nonprofit started by Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff and his sister Rachel Antonoff – who will also serve as the event’s host – is dedicated to fighting discrimination against the LGBTQ community through education, awareness and advocacy.

Antonofff points out that this is a human rights issue that affects everyone, not just the LGBTQ community. “This is everyone’s issue,” he told Pride Source. “We are not all free unless we are all free. Just because I was born into the elite class of straight Americans who have maximum rights does not mean that I won’t fight as if it were me being denied human rights.”

All proceeds for the show will go to New Alternatives, a nonprofit in New York that assists LGBT homeless youth.

A whopping 40 percent of homeless teens identify as LGBT, largely because many young people have intolerant families and are kicked out of their parents’ homes after coming out. The Ally Coalition works with other organizations to help promote tolerance and understanding so that these numbers decrease, and provides much-needed support for these youth. What’s more, there are currently 31 states where one can be fired for being transgender, and 29 states where one can be fired for being gay, so a lot of work still needs to be done.

Ally Coalition’s talent show will take place on Giving Tuesday, the day that kicks off the end-of-the-year charitable giving season and uses social media to connect individuals and organizations to celebrate giving back to the community. Giving Tuesday is observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, and serves as the antithesis to the materialism of Black Friday during the holiday season.

Grab tickets to the Ally Coalition Talent Show here.

Duran Duran & Eagles of Death Metal Show Solidarity for Paris Attack Victims through ‘Save a Prayer’ Campaign

Duran Duran

By Anna DiBlosi

Duran Duran and fans of Eagles of Death Metal have united in solidarity in the recent aftermath of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks on Paris. Eagles of Death Metal were playing at Paris’ Le Bataclan Theater when gunmen opened fire on the audience, leaving many civilians dead, including Eagles of Death Metal merchandise manager Nick Alexander, and several more injured.

Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon announced a campaign on Nov. 15 via Twitter to get Eagles of Death Metal’s cover of his band’s classic tune, “Save a Prayer,” to number 1 on the charts worldwide. This campaign was launched on Facebook by fans and Duran Duran has decided to donate all of the proceeds from the song’s sales to charity. The creators stated on the page: “For the record, no we aren’t associated with the band or their record company, we’re just fans of them that feel happy to be alive as some of our fellow EODM fans are tragically not now.”

The Facebook page has more than 16,000 likes to date and keeps up-to-date information on the worldwide music charts. Spotify has also teamed up with this campaign. Every 100 likes “Save a Prayer” receives on Spotify equals one vote on the official UK chart. “Save a Prayer” has hit number one on the worldwide rock chart and number one overall in Portugal, thus far.

You can join the campaign via the Facebook page to help it climb the charts. Check out Duran Duran and Eagles of Death Metal performing “Save a Prayer” below.

Jack Johnson, Pharrell, Sheryl Crow, Sting and More Featured in ‘Earth in Concert’ Exhibit

By Laura Ferreiro

A groundbreaking new exhibit at the California Science Center features several prominent musicians including Sting, Pharrell Williams, Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Ziggy Marley and Willie Nelson, exploring how they use their public platform as artists to raise awareness of vital global environmental issues.

“Earth in Concert: Protecting the Planet Through Music” also features a multimedia exploration of tropical coral reefs, animal calls and habitats and examines the state of biodiversity in our oceans, grasslands and forests.

A new composition by Jack Johnson about reducing plastic pollution in the ocean is also a part of the exhibit, and museum-goers can contribute verses to the song to do their part to inspire people to action.

Ziggy Marley at the Earth in Concert celebration. Photo: Zach Weinberg/Tuff Gong Worldwide

The exhibit, which is put on in partnership with the Grammy Museum and the Global Wildlife Conservation, kicked off with a star-studded concert featuring Ziggy Marley, Dwight Yokam and Judith Hill at Los Angeles’ Club Nokia on November 11. All proceeds from the concert benefitted Global Wildlife Conservation and the Grammy Museum.

Johnson, who’s an avid surfer, has been an active environmental advocate for several years, often focusing his efforts on the world’s oceans and greening initiatives. He recently joined non-profit 5 Gyres to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the oceans and the deadly impact it has on marine life and ecosystems.

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Crow goes to great lengths to reduce the environmental impact of her tours, and often addresses issues of global warming and alternative energy sources in her music. Reggae artist Marley has long been an advocate of treating the Earth with care, singing several pro-Earth anthems on his most recent album, Fly Rasta.

Country music veteran Nelson co-founded the long-running benefit concert Farm Aid to help American family farms, farmers and healthy, farm-fresh food in schools, and owns bio-diesel brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel, which is made from vegetable oil rather than fossil fuels. Meanwhile Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, co-founded the Rainforest Fund, which protects forests and the indigenous people who live in them from exploitation and destruction.

Singer/producer Williams serves as creative director of Bionic Yarn, which uses recycled plastic to create yarn, and has partnered with clothing brand G-Star Raw to make stylish denim using plastic recycled from the ocean.

The Earth in Concert exhibit will run for the next few weeks at the California Science Center and is free and open to the public.

Girl Power News Bites: Speedy Ortiz Donates Tour Proceeds to Girls Rock Camp; Santigold, Laurie Anderson, Kathleen Hanna to Play Benefit

Speedy Ortiz

By James Pleasant

Musicians around the United States are empowering young women to kick butt in music and eradicate gender norms and stereotypes in a typically male-dominated industry.

As part of the effort, indie-rock band Speedy Ortiz will donate an impressive 100 percent of the proceeds from their winter all-ages tour to the Girls Rock Camp Foundation— a nonprofit dedicated to providing funding for Girls Rock Camp.

Girls Rock Camps are dedicated to helping young girls develop life skills, creative expression, and collaboration through music.

As a further incentive for fans to support girls rocking out, Speedy Ortiz is also offering exclusive prizes to people who donate to the organization.: A $5 donation will give fans a free custom Speedy Ortiz poster designed by artist Michael DeForge; A $10 donation will give fans custom Speedy Ortiz nail art stickers, and a $30 donation gives fans a Speedy Ortiz print, as well as all of the aforementioned prizes.

“Girls Rock helps level the music business’ playing field by coaching girls to form bands, develop skills in engineering and technical production, and build their self-esteem along the way,” said Sadie Dupuis, Speedy Ortiz’s lead singer and guitarist. “We love the work GRCF does, and are proud to support them on this tour.”

Girls Rock Camp Foundation has supported more than 44 independently run Girls Rock Camps since its inception in 2014. Musicians such as Tegan and Sara, Beth Ditto and Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna currently serve on the nonprofit’s advisory board.


What’s more, renowned artists Santigold, Laurie Anderson and Kathleen Hanna will headline a concert on December 4 at the Roulette in Brooklyn to benefit the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls— a nonprofit organization empowering women through music education that’s unaffiliated to the aforementioned Girls Rock Camp Foundation. All proceeds from this event will go toward giving girls and trans-youth – primarily from low-income backgrounds – the opportunity to learn and express themselves through music.

Check out the Speedy Ortiz’ video for the single, “The Graduates,” off of their most recent album, Foil Deer, and find their tour dates here.

If you want to donate to Girls Rock Camp Foundation, please click here; and to give money, music gear or food to Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, click here.

Rock Stars Donate Well-Worn Leather for Unique Watches Benefiting MusiCares

Ringo Starr donates leather to Nixon's Rock LTD collection

By James Pleasant

Have you ever dreamt of wearing your favorite rock star’s beaten and battered leather jacket or the boots that have walked across countless stages? Now you can come pretty close, because Nixon – a boutique wristwatch and accessories brand – is releasing its Rock LTD Collection featuring watches with leather straps made out of boots, jackets and other clothes worn by legendary rock musicians including Keith Richards, Ringo Starr, Tom Waits, Ozzy Osbourne and The Who frontman Pete Townshend.

Proceeds from sales of the watches will go to the MusiCares MAP Fund – a charity created by The Recording Academy dedicated to assisting musicians who are suffering from addiction.

“I know firsthand about the ravages of addiction,” Black Sabbath frontman Osbourne told AdWeek. “I also know that the MusiCares MAP Fund is a vital safety net for people in the music industry.”

Rolling Stones guitarist Richards donated an old leather jacket to the initiative, and Waits gave a pair of old leather boots. Former Beatles drummer Starr donated a piece of leather from his drum bag, and Eddie Van Halen donated a guitar strap. Townshend wanted to further personalize his timepiece, and added The Who’s logo to the watch.

“It’s nice to reach out to an artist and not ask him to perform,” said MusiCares’ Wynnie Wynn. “Instead, all they have to do is reach into the closet to produce an item that can raise significant funds.”

Each watch will cost between $1,000 and $4,000, and will be sold worldwide starting in mid-November at retailers such as Fred Segal, Barneys and Selfridges. The watches will not be available online, so fans will have to purchase these rare items in person.

Celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Tony Hawk, Metallica’s James Hetfield, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis have donated to previous Nixon LTD collections, which also benefited MusiCares MAP Fund.

Nixon does not receive any monetary profit from the Rock LTD line, with all of the proceeds being donated to the charity.

MusiCares offers addiction recovery and support centers in Los Angeles, Nashville, Austin, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Colorado. To learn more about MusiCare’s MAP Fund, click here.

Common, Lil Herb & Other Chicago Rappers Fight to End Gun Violence

Common joins campaign to end gun violence

By James Pleasant

Chicago rappers Common, Lil’ Herb, King Louie and others have joined forces up to promote the Music vs. Gun Violence campaign in an interactive music video urging their city to “Put the Guns Down.”

The campaign, developed by nonprofit Chicago Idea, aims to unite strong voices and use music as an agent of change to end the gun violence that has crippled Chicago.

The video begins with text stating that someone is shot in Chicago every three hours. The song features several Windy City rappers spitting verses bemoaning gun violence and gang activity. Throughout the video, several people pay tribute to their fallen loved ones who were victims of gun violence. The song features a dark, gritty beat peppered with gunshots courtesy of producer Anthony “The Twilite Tone” Khan.

Chicago Ideas’ campaign encourages fans to rap their own anti-violence lyrics over an instrumental of the beat and upload it to the website. The nonprofit urges people to spread the message by using the hashtag #PutTheGunsDown on social media.

“Chicago struggles so much with violence because of the lack of outlet—whether it’s emotional, physical, creative,” Khan told Rolling Stone.

Chicago Ideas is dedicated to bringing together musicians, activists, and social/community leaders in order to create social change in Chicago.

The need for this campaign is evident as this year alone, Chicago has experienced 2,300 gun-related crimes.

Aaron Neville, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dumpstaphunk & More to Play LEAF Festival Celebrating New Orleans

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band

By James Pleasant

Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter Aaron Neville will join the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dumpstaphunk and many more for the 41st annual LEAF Festival October 15-18 in Asheville, North Carolina.

This year’s LEAF Festival theme is Celebrating the Spirit of New Orleans, and focuses on honoring the cultural contributions the iconic Louisiana city has made through food, art and music. Artists were handpicked with a strong preference toward those who are native or connected to New Orleans – the birthplace of jazz music.

Jazz funk band Dumpstaphunk formed in New Orleans and is steeped in the city’s jazz hybrid traditions, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is an iconic eight-piece jazz group that takes its name from the Preservation Hall venue located in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Despite having several lineup changes since its birth in 1963, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band continues to perform its brand of traditional New Orleans-flavored jazz.

Festival proceeds will go to LEAF Community Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting cultures, building communities, and organizing festivals and arts education programs.

Continue Reading → Volunteer Leader Shares Experiences at Global Citizen Festival with Coldplay, Beyonce, Bono & Malala

(L-R) Malala, Bono, ONE Youth Ambassador Kassandra-Kate Ramey & UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon encourage support of the Global Goals at the Global Citizen Festival

By Barb Barrar, ONE Volunteer Leader in New Jersey

It could not have been a more beautiful day for a free concert in New York City. On Saturday, September 26, more than 60,000 people gathered on the Great Lawn in Central Park to enjoy the Global Citizen Festival. The aim of the concert was to bring people together not only for a day of great music, but more importantly to introduce them to the newly announced Global Goals and let them know how to take action to achieve them. The Global Goals are 17 aspiring, yet achievable, goals set forth during the UN General Assembly to alleviate poverty, inequality and climate change.

Volunteers from ONE were among many festival-goers who enjoyed sets by Coldplay, Beyonce, Pearl Jam, Ed Sheeran and more. ONE is a global advocacy organization, co-founded by Bono (from that ’lil Irish band U2) and other activists, which is comprised of more than 7 million members worldwide. ONE members reach out to their elected leaders to make sure they are creating and following through on policies that will work to eliminate extreme poverty and preventable, treatable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.

ONE volunteers at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival

ONE volunteers were out in the crowd, clipboards in hand, to ask folks to write a brief note to their respective Senators urging them to support the Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 (S.1911), which will work to end preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths. Folks were eager to write to their Senators in support of this vital issue. By the time the first band, Coldplay, was done performing, we’d already gathered nearly 700 handwritten messages!

After hours of canvassing the crowd, ONE volunteers settled down to enjoy the show. Coldplay started with an energetic performance that included surprise guest Ariana Grande. Ed Sheeran put on a mind-blowing performance, which was followed by none other than Queen Bee herself, Beyonce. Pearl Jam rounded out the evening under the light of a beautiful moon.

In between the musical performances we heard from numerous artists, activists and world leaders including the show hosts Stephen Colbert and Hugh Jackman. Others included First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Ji Yong Kim and Big Bird (yes, you read that right…Big Bird with the World Bank President!), Bono and Malala Yousafzai.

For me, the most inspiring speaker was Malala Yousafzai. You may remember her. Malala, as a young girl, defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. As a result of speaking out, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012. She not only survived, but she raised her voice even louder!

Malala has been an outspoken global advocate for girls’ education. Her impassioned words did not come from a teleprompter, they came from her heart. You could literally feel the energy in the sea of people as she spoke about how important it is for all children, boys and girls, to receive a quality education. Demanding that primary education be a requirement of law worldwide for all children and that quality secondary education be available to all as well. Her words and passion brought tears to my eyes and made me and so many others want to do something about it!

It was a day filled with fantastic music, inspirational words and straight-up action. These Global Goals are achievable. Stand up and do something! As Bono had the audience chant the words of the great Nelson Mandela, “It is impossible until it is done.” Let’s do this. For more information, visit

Photo15 Auction Unites Musicians, Photographers & Actors in Support of AIDS Monument in West Hollywood

Photographer Jonas Akerlund, “Iggy & Blondie”

By Laura Ferreiro

It’s not every day that you get to see Deborah Harry cozying up to Iggy Pop, Grace Jones hugging her favorite vinyl record, or stare into the eyes of an adoring fan through the gaze of Lenny Kravitz, but Photo15 allowed us to experience all of this and more.

Several celebrities including Kravitz, director John Waters, The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus and renowned music and fashion photographers Anton Corbijn and Herb Ritts were among the many notable names who donated striking images to Photo15, an auction of more than 80 photographs benefiting a national AIDS monument in West Hollywood.

Sharon Stone hosts the Photo15 Auction

Actress Sharon Stone hosted the event, which took place at Milk Studios in Los Angeles on October 1. The Basic Instinct star gave a moving speech before the auction began. “We’re a community, and when we judge and turn on our back on each other or turn away from anyone in need, it’s a global crisis,” she said. “Use the strength of the pain of your losses to help others in your community.”

Photographer Norman Seeff, “Robert Mapplethorpe & Patti Smith, New York 1969”

Photographer Lenny Kravitz, “Female Fan”

The benefit raised more than $300,000 for the monument, and the evening’s top seller – a haunting image of Elizabeth Taylor in Iran by Firooz Zahedi – fetched an impressive $27,000.

When it is completed, the AIDS monument will incorporate a sculptural installation with technology that will allow visitors to upload their own multimedia memorials for lost loved ones and share their own stories. It will also honor care givers and serve as a public resource for information on HIV/AIDS, informing people about prevention, research, resources and care.

Click here to support the AIDS monument project.

Florence + The Machine, Hozier, Noel Gallagher, Vance Joy & More Sing ‘Boob Spelled Backward is Boob’

Artists including Mumford & Sons and Leon Bridges show their support for the Boob Project

By Laura Ferreiro

There’s certainly no shortage of worthwhile breast cancer charities to support this October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but one of the most joyous and silly projects we’ve come across features a whole host of renowned musicians singing the song “Boob Spelled Backward is Boob.”

The Boob Project is a collaborative charity song performed by Florence + the Machine, Noel Gallagher, members of the Grateful Dead and Spandau Ballet, Hozier, Vance Joy, Michael Franti, Bleachers, Elle King, Graham Nash and more. The song’s lyrics were written by Archer Nelson, the 8-year-old son of Mike “No Name” Nelson, a famed morning DJ at San Francisco radio station KFOG. Archer wrote the song for his mother who is battling breast cancer.

Irish singer-songwriter Hozier lays down vocals on "Boob Spelled Backward is Boob"

Nelson and fellow DJ Irish Greg tapped several famous musical guests who stopped by the studio to bring the song to life and record parts of the track throughout the year. We’re sure you’ll agree that the results are adorable and inspiring.

Even artists who didn’t have the opportunity to record on the track have lent their support to The Boob Project, including Mumford and Sons, George Ezra, Leon Bridges and James Bay.

The song is meant to encourage donations to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Check out the video below and go here to support this worthwhile cause.