On Wednesday (3), Fever 333 live streamed their “Long Live The Innocent” benefit show. The show, which can be viewed in full below, was billed as a “live demonstration” calling for an end to racial injustice and advocating for change.
“This is a concentrated effort to encourage people to go beyond awareness and take action,” wrote frontman Jason Aalon Butler in a post announcing the event. “With localized efforts in the name of justice for a specifically targeted group of people in this country, this will serve as an artistic activation as well as a platform to activate necessary measures for social and racial reformation.”
During the nearly hour-long eight-song set, Butler vocalized his frustration in a number of passionate speeches. He took the stream’s first moments to give context before fading into a collage of images of George Floyd and news reports about his death and subsequent protests, saying:
“As many of you know and as many of you have experienced we’ve been going through quite a rough time of uncertainty, anxiety and fear due to a pandemic that has gripped the world known as COVID-19. These are unprecedented times and we want to get through them just as much as you do. But we must not forget that there are precedented times that we face and have been facing and have been perpetuated for generations and one of these has been the violence against black bodies, brown bodies, immigrant bodies in America and throughout the world. This is a power dynamic and it’s been leveraged against people for generations. This is something we must address, this is something we must fight against and this is the platform we utilise to do so.”
Almost midway into the set, the band took a couple minutes of silence while the names of hundreds of black lives lost to police brutality and systemic racism scrolled across the three walls of screens behind them. “I want to take this moment to be silent, but not like yesterday, not like when you should have spoke up while people were out on the streets getting shot at and manhandled by those who are there to protect them, those who have shown them nothing but chaos for generations,” said Butler, referring to the Black Out Tuesday media silence. “We will not be silent the way they thought we would be silent, we will be silent in the names of all those beautiful black bodies that were slain needlessly and senselessly over the years. Be quiet and listen for a minute.”
Butler continued to call out record labels and other members of the music industry, asking them to step up for black bodies after profiting from their music and not showing the same kind of support.
“I’m asking you watching this, especially those in rock music, I’m asking you to show up for what I believe in my generation to be the first fucking time. You want to take music that was black music, that still is black music? You want to benefit from black music? You want to enjoy black music, black culture, black art, black excellence, but you don’t want to celebrate it? You don’t want to show up when we’re dying in the streets? Then you are not supporting rock music. You are not supporting black people. You are exploiting black people.”
Most importantly, Butler wanted the show to light a fire under people and start a conversation, to open up a safe space to have a serious discussion on racism. Further into the show, he gives an impassioned speech that both attempts to hold people accountable then tries to unify the audience, saying:
“For years we’ve been fighting, due to ideals, constructs known as ‘race’, and the fear of each other. Right now in America, there is a fire that is being stoked, flames that are being fanned by people in power. The people are relinquishing their power – the very power that we possess, simply by existing, as a people, as a nation, as a constituency. We are giving up our power to someone, and to people, and to a system, that does not care about us – not the way it cares about itself.”
“I don’t care where you sit on this spectrum: if you’re able to watch the atrocities that are happening every single day – much like our brother George Floyd being slain on the streets in front of a camera – and you don’t think that there’s a problem, then you are that fucking problem.”
“Like I said, this is a safe space, and we can have that conversation all day. But do not retreat when I tell you what the fuck it is that you are. These are facts laid out on paper. These are policies written out, systems in place. You can find this out for your very self. This is not bias. I promise you: if you seek this out, you will find it, and it will be verified by our system – the one I mentioned earlier.”
“What I ask of you today is to have the conversation. Don’t be afraid to have the conversation – so afraid that you impose violence upon another person. I challenge you to have the conversation today. I’ll have it with you.”
Money donated from the stream will be going to Black Lives Matter and the Minnesota Freedom Fund. So far, the stream has raised more than $5,400 for the latter.
You can watch the full “Long Live The Innocent” live stream below: