Fever 333 Singer: Demand to Remove Racist Statues Shouldn’t Confuse Anyone
The fight for racial equality and human rights has seen some symbols celebrating the past fall in recent weeks. Speaking with NME, Fever 333 vocalist Jason Aalon Butler discussed the current worldwide movement to recognize systemic racism in our history and learn from it moving forward.
In the course of the conversation, he was asked about many of the statues celebrating historical figures that have been vandalized or removed in recent weeks due to their ties with a racist history.
“We want to move forward," says the singer. "If there’s a statue that represents a long-standing history of racism and suffrage, you shouldn’t be all that perplexed when people want to take it down. We’ve been inundated with the idea of ‘this is history’ but that doesn’t make it right. The American Revolution, that was all terrorism until we won. If you want to celebrate these people, talk about them in whole."
He continues, "These figures built their wealth on slavery and the destruction of cultures. You don’t want to celebrate that. I understand there was a financial benefit, but why should we all be forced to sit there and look at a history celebrated that we don’t all benefit from? It’s good that we’re challenging these things. We want to win this fight, so we need to rewrite our future then we can talk about the history behind it.”
While the art of statues from a period of racial inequality may be coming down, another form of art -- music -- can help pave a way forward. Butler says, “It’s the most perfect thing to accompany a movement aside from action and from actually doing the damn thing you’re talking about. I believe art precipitates all renaissance movements. Every romantic, intellectual, political and artistic renaissance and all real paradigm shifts, art was the catalyst. Art is one of the most integral and important tools in moments like this where people start to become synergistic and find themselves sharing a large collective consciousness. Art is often the mouthpiece for those movements, as well as the emotional inspiration. It’s an outlet too. We need somewhere to offload these feelings.”
The singer says that he's seen positive results coming from the protests, and adds that one of the biggest actions people can take to help ensure their voice is heard is to vote. “Whether people believe this or not, voting is a huge thing. The protests help, but you got to make sure you’re counted. Just by virtue of being alive, you have a sense of power. Find out who your council members are. Find out who’s speaking to your interests on a local level. Show up, be heard and believe that’ll do something on an institutional level."
Butler and his band Fever 333 recently released their song "Supremacy," and he reveals that he has plenty of new music in the works. “I got a couple of albums worth for Fever 333 and I’ve got an album of my own solo stuff too," says the singer. "My reactive nature is probably going to be the common theme for everything I do, just releasing things when they make the most sense."
He added, "I was worried that if I release an album in this time and I can’t tour it, no one will care but maybe that’s what has to happen. Activism comes first so maybe I’ll have to release this message earlier than I expected because it means more to the movement. That wave of collective consciousness is gaining more and more momentum and I just want to make sure I did my part. If it crashes and I’m not there on the shore, that’s OK because I know that I did the right thing as opposed to waiting for it to pass and then trying to profit off of it later.”
Fever 333, "Supremacy"
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