Various artists including Vic Mensa, Fifth Harmony‘s Lauren Jauregui and Richie Reseda have joined forces for the new Defund The Sheriff benefit album. The new release is tied to a campaign to defund the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and allocate those funds to other local resources.
The 17-track LP is on streaming platforms now.
Defund The Sheriff was produced by JusticeLA, #SchoolsNotPrisons, Question Culture and Reform LA Jails. Criminal justice speaker and musician Mike de la Rocha and previously incarcerated Question Culture CEO Reseda executive produced the LP.
Together, 20 artists have come together for this new album. Merging together pop culture and politics, these artists and the organizations involved want to redirect LA county police funding. Just last month, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted to defund the sheriff’s department by $145 million.
In a statement, Mensa shares what changes need to be made in LA county and across the country.
“The prison industrial complex of The Divided States of America is one of the greatest stains ever to blemish the bloody flag that is America,” Mensa says. “The sheriff is little more than the militarized arm of this oppressive system; it is our duty as revolutionaries to challenge and dismantle white supremacy to the furthest extent possible within our lifetimes. By any and all means necessary.”
Mensa, Jauregui and Reseda appear on the first track “Largest Jail System on Earth.” The song reveals that the movement wants to redirect police funding to other resources including affordable housing, accessible mental health care and access to education.
Artist 88 also appears on the LP with the song “Kings in Chains.” He is currently incarcerated and recently shared his story and involvement with the campaign.
“I’m currently serving 40-years-to-double-life that LA county sentenced me to at 15 years old. I’ve been incarcerated for 17 years,” he says in a release. “It’s on artists like me to use art to tell the truth, to use art for abolition. I have firsthand experience with LA county law enforcement and they don’t have a good track record with people of color.”
Ivette Ale, JusticeLA’s lead organizer, says this album is a call to action. This project will further support the movement in LA County as well as others in the future.
“Our goal is to spark the imaginations of listeners with truth and move them to take action,” Ale says. “The music will support our upcoming campaigns to defund The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. [It will also] stop the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for Sheriff lawsuits. And invest those dollars in alternatives to incarceration and community-based care.”
The full Defund The Sheriff album is available to stream below.
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