The Solidarity Index

Solidarity Voices — with Christian Allaire, Korina Emmerich, Doreen St Félix, Morgan Bassichis, Alsarah, Zahyr Lauren aka The Artist L.Haz, Arooj Aftab, Samir Eskanda and Huda Asfour

May 05, 2024 Solidarity Index Season 1 Episode 9
Solidarity Voices — with Christian Allaire, Korina Emmerich, Doreen St Félix, Morgan Bassichis, Alsarah, Zahyr Lauren aka The Artist L.Haz, Arooj Aftab, Samir Eskanda and Huda Asfour
The Solidarity Index
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The Solidarity Index
Solidarity Voices — with Christian Allaire, Korina Emmerich, Doreen St Félix, Morgan Bassichis, Alsarah, Zahyr Lauren aka The Artist L.Haz, Arooj Aftab, Samir Eskanda and Huda Asfour
May 05, 2024 Season 1 Episode 9
Solidarity Index

“We are a mass movement of people who are interconnected not only in our struggle against injustice, but in celebration of our collective power to demand and create change.” — Zahyr Lauren aka The Artist L.Haz

Join us as we look back at The Solidarity Index podcast’s first season, where we spoke with renowned musicians, designers, and writers whose creative practice explores the question of what solidarity sounds like, looks like, and feels like in action.

We hope you enjoy these season one sound bites, and that you’re looking forward to Season 2, as our journey continues with brilliant guests and powerful conversations that inspire us to continue to build together.

For a full transcript and detailed show notes visit our website

________________________________________

thesolidarityindex.com

Tune in to THE SOLIDARITY INDEX on your favorite podcast platform, and keep up with us on Instagram. Sign up for The Solidarity Index newsletter to receive new episodes direct to your inbox.

CREDITS
THE SOLIDARITY INDEX podcast is produced by State of Mind Media
Hosted by Zahyr Lauren aka The Artist L.Haz
Created and produced by Jen Bell, Shalva Wise, Stina Hamlin, and Zahyr Lauren Audio editing and production by Stina Hamlin
Audio mix by Matt Gundy
Logo and identity design by Marwan Kaabour
Art direction, website and additional design by Jen Bell at Studio Analogy

THEME SONG
Until Everybody Is Free by Bella Cuts – featuring the voice of Maya Angelou
Released on Common Groove (2023)
All proceeds from download and streaming go to the Dr. Maya Angelou Foundation

Show Notes Transcript

“We are a mass movement of people who are interconnected not only in our struggle against injustice, but in celebration of our collective power to demand and create change.” — Zahyr Lauren aka The Artist L.Haz

Join us as we look back at The Solidarity Index podcast’s first season, where we spoke with renowned musicians, designers, and writers whose creative practice explores the question of what solidarity sounds like, looks like, and feels like in action.

We hope you enjoy these season one sound bites, and that you’re looking forward to Season 2, as our journey continues with brilliant guests and powerful conversations that inspire us to continue to build together.

For a full transcript and detailed show notes visit our website

________________________________________

thesolidarityindex.com

Tune in to THE SOLIDARITY INDEX on your favorite podcast platform, and keep up with us on Instagram. Sign up for The Solidarity Index newsletter to receive new episodes direct to your inbox.

CREDITS
THE SOLIDARITY INDEX podcast is produced by State of Mind Media
Hosted by Zahyr Lauren aka The Artist L.Haz
Created and produced by Jen Bell, Shalva Wise, Stina Hamlin, and Zahyr Lauren Audio editing and production by Stina Hamlin
Audio mix by Matt Gundy
Logo and identity design by Marwan Kaabour
Art direction, website and additional design by Jen Bell at Studio Analogy

THEME SONG
Until Everybody Is Free by Bella Cuts – featuring the voice of Maya Angelou
Released on Common Groove (2023)
All proceeds from download and streaming go to the Dr. Maya Angelou Foundation

Solidarity Voices — with Christian Allaire, Korina Emmerich, Doreen St Félix, Morgan Bassichis, Alsarah, Zahyr Lauren aka The Artist L.Haz, Arooj Aftab, Samir Eskanda and Huda Asfour

[WAVES SURGING]

Zahyr: [00:00:05] 

Before a wave crashes the shoreline. It has to become this giant thing. It is motion. There's a rising up from behind and below that overtakes the top and bursts across borders. Waves are something that you can't see until you see them. There's just so much underground movement and motion and build up and power and strength and energy that is coming through a wave. And we are that wave. From Palestine to Puerto Rico, Sudan to Standing Rock, Berlin to Brooklyn, we are a mass movement of people who are interconnected not only in our struggle against injustice, but in celebration of our collective power to demand and create change.

[MUSIC]  Until Everybody Is Free by Bella Cuts – featuring the voice of Maya Angelou 

Zahyr: [00:01:19] 

I'm your host, Zahyr Lauren, aka the artist L.Haz, inviting you to join me in a look back at The Solidarity Index podcast's first season. We spoke with renowned musicians, designers and writers whose creative practice explores the question of what solidarity sounds like, looks like, and feels like in action. We hope you enjoy these Season One soundbites and that you're looking forward to Season Two as our journey continues with brilliant guests and powerful conversations that inspire us to continue to build together. 

Our first guest was the powerhouse singer songwriter and ethnomusicologist Alsarah. We talked taking freedom as a lover, finding your reflection as a displaced people, and choosing to do the unsafest thing that makes your heart sing. Alsarah is the brilliant vocalist and lead singer of Alsarah and the Nubatones. This interview really helped lift me into my dream of leaving the institution and using my own art as a revolutionary tool for change. I couldn't be more grateful to have had Alsarah as my first guest.

[MUSIC] Mesafa – Let Me Tell You About My Love

Alsarah: [00:02:54] 

Having the guts to speak on each other's behalf when the other people are not even in the room. That, to me, is solidarity. It's like it doesn't matter if you're here or not. My commitment to your freedom is real whether you're around or not.

[MUSIC] Alsarah & the Nubatones – Men Ana

Alsarah: [00:03:39] 

Colonization is a political agenda. It's not in any way a natural state of being, and it's always sold to the people on the ground as the natural state. And it's not. That's why you need guns to keep it in place. If it was natural, we wouldn't need a gun for this baby. We would all be all about it.

Zahyr: [00:04:06] 

In Episode Two, we talked heritage, sustainability, storytelling and inspiration with the designer Korina Emmerich. Korina's work has been featured at The Met and New York Fashion Week. Her designs have been worn by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and y'all. She's been showcased in the pages of Vogue, Elle, InStyle, and New York Magazine, to name a few.

[MUSIC]

Korina: [00:04:46] 

I think it's a radical act of solidarity in itself to take care of the earth that we are all living on. We can't be here without the nurturing that we get from the earth, and we're taught from a young age that there is no separation between our bodies and the land and that and that we're all one, and that what happens to the land happens to our bodies. I don't think that there's any saving us if we're not taking care of the place that we live. What your actions are in this lifetime affect the next seven generations. We have to think about the impact as us as a whole. We are all related. We need to take care of each other like a family.

Zahyr: [00:05:32] 

Speaking of family, in episode three we talked to my dear homie Arooj Aftab, the first ever Pakistani musician to win a Grammy Award. A range of music and style transcends genres and every single way. We talk creative kinship, healing the holes in our hearts and refusing to hide. He. May.

[MUSIC] Arooj Aftab — Man Kunto Maula

Arooj: [00:06:43] 

No matter how crazy or a stupid idea anyone will tell you that it is. You know, it's like, that is a really dumb idea that you're just gonna do these drawings. Yeah. You know, or that you're gonna just be a singer, you know? Uh, no matter what they say, it ends up succeeding because it's you living your truth and choosing to love yourself.

[MUSIC] Arooj Aftab — Mohabbat

Arooj: [00:07:37] 

I never was writing songs for them to be on the radio or to win any Grammy, I was writing them as a form of self help, like self-soothing, you know? Because I wanted to hear, like, that's the thing that I would want to hear so that I could heal the holes in my heart.

Zahyr: [00:08:02] 

Halfway through the season, Solidarity Index co-producer Stina Hamlin took over hosting duties. We flipped the script to spend an episode sharing my story and the origin story of this podcast.

[MUSIC]  Until Everybody Is Free by Bella Cuts – featuring the voice of Maya Angelou 

Stina: [00:08:30] 

Let's talk about The Artist L.Haz. 

Zahyr: [00:08:35] 

What I'm trying to do with my life, and all of its imperfections, is to continually think about the ways I can be an asset to humans in general, but Black people in specific, and wanting to share and extend and use my art to benefit all the people who are doing the same. Because I'm Black. You know, the work is specific to Black folks and trying to draw into the art some type of healing and acknowledgment of how regal we are and acknowledgment of what we've contributed to society. 

So in a sense, I'm trying to bring to life the opposite of what we're living. I'm trying to bring to life a part of us as Black people that is untouchable. Unassailable, like it's protected. And we're in a time where, uh, you didn't know is not a thing. There's White Rage by Carol Anderson, The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander. I mean, I could go on and on. 1619 by Nikole Hannah-Jones… There's way too much information. Caste, Isabel Wilkerson.

Stina: [00:09:53] 

Do the work.

Zahyr: [00:09:56] 

Do the work. And doing the work is love.

[MUSIC]  Until Everybody Is Free by Bella Cuts – featuring the voice of Maya Angelou 

Zahyr: [00:10:24] 

Episode Five brought us together with Christian Allaire. Christian is the Senior Fashion and Style Writer at Vogue and author of The Power of Style, a book that I love, love, love. We talk, crossing borders, rejecting boxes, rocking culture wear, and making it a mission to redistribute the spotlight.

Christian: [00:10:50] 

I was like, I want to do a book that celebrates cultural fashion, because if that was something I had seen as a kid, I probably would have been more proud of my heritage and worn my cultural wear earlier on. So I really just wanted to do a book that celebrated not just Indigenous fashion, but all sorts of different cultures and their design traditions, and the hope was to inspire kids to be proud of where they're from and to rock it with their style.

[MUSIC]: Lyla June — All Nations Rise 

Christian: [00:12:01] 

This is precisely why movements like LandBack movement, why it was born. It's terrifying to live in a time where, like you said, you can be banished from your own land for no reason. So that's, it's terrifying. And it's also a sad reality that we all experience that in different forms. 

Zahyr: [00:12:21] 

These are the things, for me, that solidarity grows from these kind of deep wounds that we're all carrying, and this possibility of all coming together around this stuff, all being fly together, marching together, you know, it's just such it becomes so much more beautiful. The final guest of our first season was award-winning Palestinian musician, educator and engineer Huda Asfour. Huda has studied, taught and created music all her life, all over the world, from Tunis to Gaza, Italy to Egypt, the US to China and beyond. Huda took us on a journey of origins and exile, frequencies and improvisation, and the profound capacity to alchemize grief with the incredible instrument that is the heart.

[MUSIC] Huda Asfour —  

Huda: [00:13:59] 

Jasmine was, for me, the mixture of love and anger and the disconnect in reality is the reality of the war and what people perceive of the war. It was a cry for me, for people to hear sort of the pain that exists with war, but also to remember that we are still human and we can feel the full spectrum of emotion, and that love would hopefully still be the dominant feeling. 

[MUSIC] Huda Asfour — 

You have to listen first. You have to listen. And listen for the sake of listening. Sometimes I think we all get into that space where we really want to respond to say something. Solidarity is also about really opening up to a place of empathy and. And really being curious about the other. And maybe a little bit more, you know, capacity to see beyond our own struggles and issues and what we want to advocate for immediately and to look at the interconnectedness of all of these things. 

Zahyr: [00:15:50] 

Y'all. The episode with Huda was supposed to close out our season, but on October 26th, the Solidarity Index partnered with grassroots leaders Adalah Justice Project and Jewish Voice for Peace on a live event in New York City for an important conversation on the urgent responsibility of people with cultural power to speak out for Palestine. We heard from writer and critic Doreen Saint Félix, artist and performer Morgan Bassichis, and Palestinian musician and activist Samir Eskanda.

Samir: [00:16:26] 

Whatever art you make, whatever cultural production you might be involved in, you have the choice — and I would argue that the ethical responsibility — to not allow it to be used to whitewash systems of oppression. The priority right now of any humanitarian is to stop what experts are calling the unfolding genocide. How can we do that as artists and cultural workers? How can we contribute? The most urgent demand is for a ceasefire right now. 

Doreen: [00:17:01] 

I feel that I am on the side of the truth. I think that journalists, we have these ideas of objectivity, of neutrality, but what we do is we tell stories, we take facts, and we are able to shift and create narratives in ways that can lead to the promotion of life or the destruction of it. People are getting their news independently, and they are able to cross check and verify and see that what they're being told by their government, by their mainstream news publications, is simply not true.

Morgan: [00:17:33] 

Our first and foremost job is to be as loud as we possibly can about cease fire, cease fire. And then our second job, in my opinion, is to enter into long term principled engagement with Palestine solidarity. If you don't take any risk and you wait until there's no risk to take, you have waited too long. I think silence is contagious. But I also think courage is contagious. And so we want to be contagious in that way. And saying like, everything we want is on the other side of solidarity. 

[MUSIC]  Until Everybody Is Free by Bella Cuts – featuring the voice of Maya Angelou  

Zahyr: [00:18:18]

In order to organize, we got to develop strategies that allow people to identify with the particular issue as their issue. It can't just be something over there. So we got to help people understand that their issue has parallels and structural connections to other questions of justice around the world. With The Solidarity Index, the hope is that we can create a sense that we're all related, that we share parallel struggles, that those struggles are being addressed in creative ways, and that all of those struggles affect us in some way. What I feel and what I know, is that the truth will inform the love, and the love must inform the action. 

If you want to help us make Season Two a reality, you can make a one-time or recurring tax-deductible donation via our website, TheSolidarityIndex.com. You can also head to our site to grab some of the fly Solidarity Index merch we just dropped it and we're trying to raise funds for the new season. We're working with organic and recycled materials whenever possible, and to avoid waste, every item is produced to order. If you want to get our new episodes sent direct to your inbox, join our mailing list via TheSolidarityIndex.com. If you're enjoying our content, please let us know. You can email us at SolidarityIndex@gmail.com or tag us on Instagram @TheSolidarityIndex

This podcast is a production of State of Mind Media created and produced by Jen Bell, Shalva Wise, Stina Hamlin and me, Zahyr Lauren. Audio editing and production by Stina Hamlin. Audio mix by Matt Gundy. Logo and identity design by Marwan Kaabour. Art direction, website and additional design by Jen Bell. Our theme song, Until Everybody Is Free by Bella Cuts is out everywhere you listen to music. All proceeds from streaming and downloads go to the Dr. Maya Angelou Foundation. All the music selections can be referenced in the show notes. I'm your host, Zahyr Lauren, aka The Artist L.Haz. We appreciate you all for listening. Peace. 

[MUSIC]  Until Everybody Is Free by Bella Cuts – featuring the voice of Maya Angelou 


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