Get front row (virtual) seats to local music and art focused on racial justice

Northrop teamed up with student organizations to stream concerts and a film about the responses to the killing of George Floyd.

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Parker Johnson

Local Minneapolis Band Sapphire poses for a portrait at the Minneapolis Institute of Art on Sunday, Sep. 6th. The group will soon perform for the first time in over eight months at the Amplifying Solidarity concert series.

Meg Bishop, Associate A&E Reporter

Before students even step on campus or open their first Zoom lecture, Northrop is bringing the local arts scene to them with a new virtual series.
Amplifying Solidarity is a virtual month-long series featuring Minneapolis artists, hosted by Northrop in an effort to spotlight Black performers and support Twin Cities creatives.
The series’ name comes from the idea of centering Black artists in an effort to “amplify solidarity,” according to Kristen Brogdon, Northrop’s Director of Programming.
“Amplifying Solidarity” includes multiple elements highlighting the importance of the Black Lives Matter Movement while encouraging students to educate themselves and take a stand against systemic racism.
Northrop rounded up a number of student groups and organizations to collaboratively facilitate the events: Radio K, Orientation and Transition Experiences, Multicultural Student Engagement and the School of Music.
The series captures a variety of artists, including DJs, singers, musicians, muralists and filmmakers. Only a few members of the series’ programming are allowed to watch the shows in person; otherwise, the auditorium is empty.
“Even though we weren’t allowed to have people in the audience, the energy in the room was phenomenal,” Brogdon said.
Minneapolis-based DJ Keezy hosted the first show of the series. She DJ’d at Northrop’s first live concert since February on Sept. 3.
“I asked DJ Keezy after her set was over, ‘Was it hard to play to an empty room?’ And she said, ‘No. I was so surrounded by the sound, it didn’t even occur to me that the room was empty,’” Brogdon said.
Coming up on Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. is another event in the series. New Dawn Theatre is hosting a virtual film screening of the documentary A Breath For George, showcasing responses to the police killing of George Floyd.
“A Breath for George was created by New Dawn Theatre Productions and Minnesota artists as a platform to honor Mr. Floyd’s life and speaks to this moment and moments past openly and honestly,” said Austene Van, artistic director of New Dawn Theatre Productions.
Minneapolis-based punk band Sapphire Band will play for the series on Sept. 17.
“We’re super excited to play at Northrop and for it to be a show that’s surrounding such an important topic, and it’s something we’re [the band] all super passionate about,” said Ava Bella Levy, a member of Sapphire Band. “It needs to be discussed in mainstream music, specifically.”
Each show can be watched over Facebook Live, heard on Radio K’s website and live-streamed via Radio K’s Instagram.