Nick Cannon has created a piece in the long standing tradition of artists lifting their voice to speak to the times. “Stand For What?!” is a spoken word manifesto that is taking to task many of the icons and symbols that many continue to use as a litmus test of one’s Americanness. This is our now, the purpose of art should be a catalyst for dialogue. Literally last evening HBO was showing Do The Right Thing a movie I’ve seen 5011 times to the enth power. At a moment I was struck at how timely 1989 felt in 2017. I considered my youth and how the tenor of those times were an awakening in music, film, television, fashion and somehow we thought… and yet here we are.

This is what makes the consideration for other voices, other points of view, questions and the like so important. Nick Cannon is questioning complicity. The importance of which is that on one hand you have a narrative that this country was built from the ashes of revolution(non-compliance) yet, there’s often a demand from many for the voice to be silenced if you choose to question the narrative of all things are equal/we’re the greatest country. Without critical analysis in the public sphere we all suffer.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.