Art is such a powerful way to encourage dialog and to challenge us to think critically about some of the issues that we continue to face in the United States, including the rising tide of neo-fascism, continued police brutality, and economic inequality. I was invited to experience Dust + Dignity, an incredible collection of vinyl record covers that all speak to civil rights and social justice. Dust + Dignity was organized and curated by Bruce “DJ Junior” Campbell, Jr., PhD, who is a professor at Arcadia University. The exhibit included records from some of Philly’s most legendary DJs and record collectors: Cosmo Baker, King Britt, Rich Medina, and Skeme Richards.
Here is the essence of Dust + Dignity in DJ Junior’s words:
Today, we are experiencing on outing of the racial ignorance that has long existed in our city, country, and surrounding world. Born out of this injustice and in response to the ignorance is art. In art, we find sound. Music keeps us together; it heals and connects — it motivates and celebrates. Lyrics give life to our souls, the melodies align our hearts, and the rhythms stoke the fire of our movements. Often overlooked is the powerful connection between an album’s music and the visual artwork that binds it together.
From Gil Scott Heron’s “Moving Target” to Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy Award-Winning 2015 release, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” the evolution of album artwork has transmitted the dynamism of music and social injustices.
Here are most of the covers…
Stay tuned for a NYC Dust + Dignity exhibit hopefully coming soon.