By David Vandygriff
‘Rainbow Riots’ is an upcoming charity album featuring LGBT musicians from all over the world – including countries where homosexuality is illegal, such as Jamaica, Uganda, and Malawi.
Swedish artist and activist Petter Wallenberg composed and produced the album. He was inspired to do so after witnessing brutal anti-LGBTI violence by police at last year’s Ugandan Pride festival. All proceeds from the album will go to Wallenberg’s charity of the same name, dedicated to ending anti-LGBT discrimination globally.
‘Imagine that your very existence is a crime and that the police, authorities, and lynch mobs chase you simply because you are who you are,’ Wallenberg states. ‘I created Rainbow Riots as a movement to fight for freedom against tyranny.’
The album has an eclectic sound, with elements of afrobeat, electro, soul, pop, orchestral, rap, dancehall, gospel, and spoken word.
‘Rainbow Riots will be the first time most people will hear a Jamaican dance hall artist who is also a gay rights activist. This groundbreaking album will also introduce the listener to the music of a queer rapper from Malawi, a trans Zulu singer and a whole array of LGBT artists from Uganda – often called the world’s most homophobic country,’ the Rainbow Riots website reads.
Some musicians on the album have chosen to remain anonymous, but their words are powerful nonetheless. ‘Our lives are already in danger—it doesn’t help if we keep quiet,’ one Ugandan participant says.
‘Equal Rights,’ the album’s first track by Jamaican rapper and LGBT rights activist Mista Majah P, is already being used in the U.N’s Global Goals campaign for sustainable development.
‘Rainbow Riots’ will be released on 16 June. Check out a teaser of it below.