5.30.2018
Speak Up Sing Out Music Contest Announcement

The greatest voice is the voice of the people - speaking out - in prose, or painting or poetry or music; speaking out - in homes and halls, streets and farms, courts and cafes - let that voice speak and the stillness you hear will be the gratitude of mankind."  

---- Robert F. Kennedy

When we created the Speak Truth to Power (STTP) Speak Up, Sing Out Music Contest in partnership with the GRAMMY Museum, we did so to display the power of art - in this case, music - as one way to help realize Robert F. Kennedy’s vision of a world defined by justice and equality.  For the past three years, the contest has called on young people to use music as a vehicle for change, to create new songs that both raise awareness and inspire action towards solving a pressing human rights issue. With this contest and with all that we do at STTP, our goal is to encourage young people to self-identify as human rights defenders; to refuse to stay silent when they see injustice; and to choose to speak up and sing out for a better world.

This year’s contest produced a variety of empowering and inspiring songs from young musicians all over the world who discussed topics such as gun violence, human trafficking and bullying in their submissions. Our panel of judges included rapper, activist and STTP Defender, Sonita Alizadeh; Grammy-nominated reggae artist and activist, Rocky Dawuni; Grammy-nominated producer/songwriter, Axident; Vice President of BMI, Barbara Cane; and music industry expert, Lee Anne Callahan-Longo.

For 2018, we are honored to announce Ming-An Fasquelle of Burbank, CA as the winner of the STTP Speak Up, Sing Out Music Contest. Her song “Proclamation,” which brilliantly highlights the continued struggle for civil rights in the United States, displays this young musician’s capacity for creative storytelling. Though there were many impressive entries, it was Ming-An’s lyrics that made our judges take pause. Accompanied by a simple, yet powerful piano melody, her words shine - they are smart, biting and thought-provoking, displaying both maturity and a deep commitment to understanding the issue. In presenting her work, Fasquelle states that “this song serves as both a reminder of how far we have come, and yet how far we still have to go in order to achieve equality,” a theme that manifests itself when she sings:

“Why do they say that the battle’s over,

They just tryna wrap the wounds in clover
Martin Luther King died, fifty years ago.
Then why’s Jim Crow still starring the show.
Oh lord, a signature on a page.
Won’t be freedom from this vicious cage.”

Ming-An’s song is a testament to the power of words, of music, to spark conversation and to create change. We are thrilled that such a young storyteller is using her talent to promote social justice, and we are positive that this song will resonate with people of all ages. Thank you to everyone who submitted and congratulations, Ming-An!

You can listen to “Proclamation” here. The full lyrics are available below:

Proclamation by Ming-An Fasquelle

Intro:
I have faith in humanity.
Rising from sorrow, we’ll lead.
I have faith in the path that we’ll tread.
It’s been told, it’s been sung, it’s been said!

Verse 1:
It’s been years, still gotta fight.
I said Father won’t you lead them to the light?
Why do they say that the battle’s over,
They just tryna wrap the wounds in clover
Martin Luther King died, fifty years ago.
Then why’s Jim Crow still starring the show.
Oh lord, a signature on a page.
Won’t be freedom from this vicious cage.

Chorus:
Oh speak, of Parks on a bus
Oh sing of the uniforms you couldn’t trust.
Even out of all this plight.  
Preach the story of the time that we made it right.
Oh cry the proclamation on a stage.
Fear having clipped wings stuck in a cage.
Beggin’ it’s a prayer laden with rage.
Starting today, I know we’ll make a change.
Oh, speak, oh sing, Oh preach.
Oh cry, oh fear, oh scream.

Verse 2:
Only thoughts and prayers
And all the naysayers,
The journey’s been cold and hard.
We’re in the prime
But it’s been a troubled climb.
Come on baby won’t you sing it with me one more time.

Chorus:
Oh speak, of signs and protests.
Oh sing, for all the sisters doing their best.
Even out of all this plight.
Preach the story of the time that we made it right.
Oh cry the proclamation to the crowd.
Shout to the spirits who’ve been broken and bowed.
Oh I beg, cause time’s uncertain and strange.
Starting today, I know we’ll make a change.
Oh, speak, oh sing, oh preach.
Oh cry, oh fear, oh scream.