Gig for Gaza raising awareness and funds for Palestinian charities | Arts & Culture | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Gig for Gaza will be held at the Marquee Ballroom on June 20 and features several well-known Nova Scotia musicians.

Gig for Gaza raising awareness and funds for Palestinian charities

Lineup includes Jenn Grant, Ria Mae, Mama’s Broke, and Jah’Mila among others

  With the ongoing crisis in Palestine, some may be wondering how they can help.

The organizers of Gig for Gaza have found a way.

On June 20 at the Marquee Ballroom, a concert will be held featuring several well-known Nova Scotian artists, all to raise money for relief efforts in Palestine through the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Atlantic Canada Palestinian Society.

Included in the lineup are singer-songwriters Jenn Grant, Mo Kenney, and Ria Mae, hip-hop artists Shanii and Basyl, reggae artist Jah’Mila, and folk duo Mama’s Broke. Special guests include El Jones, Killa Atencio, and co-organizer Rana Zaman.

An activist and media spokesperson for the Atlantic Canada Palestinian Society, Zaman has been on the frontlines of many pro-Palestinian events and causes throughout the city, including the organization of weekly rallies calling for a ceasefire in Palestine. She first conceptualized the idea of the concert on New Year’s Eve.

It was nearly midnight. Zaman was travelling through the city towards a group of people who had organized to chant “Free Palestine” after the countdown. Stuck in traffic and knowing she likely wouldn’t make it, she let her fellow activists know.

The people there sent Zaman videos of what had occurred in her absence as people shouted for a ceasefire. Well-known Nova Scotia hip-hop artist Shanii was on stage, yelling out to Palestine with them. Zaman could even hear them from where she was, still stuck in traffic.

“I was like, oh my goodness, I never thought I would see that,” said Zaman. “Everyone is worried about the career, worried about the backlash, and I’m like… this is amazing.”

Zaman reached out to Shanii over Instagram and ended up chatting with his agent to see if they could organize him to perform at a fundraiser for Gaza. It was shortly after this that Zaman also reached out to Grant, who Zaman knew for her song “Hello Everyone (Ceasefire Now)”, which she had performed at several rallies and recorded alongside 35 other artists from around the world, with all funds raised going to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

Grant was eventually asked to come on as a co-ordinator alongside Zaman.

“I’ve been doing different types of things, organizing money and awareness for the people in Gaza and everywhere in Palestine since November,” Grant said in an interview with The Coast. “We’re just hoping to raise more awareness and have a great night of music.”

For Grant, it was challenging for her to go on social media and see images and videos of what it’s like in Gaza without saying something—even if the consequences could lose her fans, and potentially affect her commercial viability as a musician.

“I feel fully invested,” she said. “It’s like what people say, like, once you see something, you can’t unsee it,” she said.

And while Grant says she’s received her share of nasty messages and comments for her support of Palestine, she has also found connections within a loving community.

“I found it very horrific and stress-inducing, and also find it really beautiful the connections that I've made amongst the community who are dedicated to supporting the community of Palestinians, and the freedom and rights of all humans—especially Palestinians right now.”

Alongside this concert and her protest song, Grant has been busy finding other ways to use her art to help those in Palestine. She has been painting portraits of Palestinian journalists that are for sale on her Bandcamp page, with proceeds going to help families raise money for border-crossing fees.

Zaman may have put the collective action taken by Palestinian supporters best.

“We all have different reasons to take action, for sure, but at the end of the day, it’s our connection with humanity that motivates us to take action,” she said.

For more information on the event and to buy tickets, check out Gig for Gaza here.

Brendyn Creamer

Brendyn is a reporter for The Coast covering news, arts and entertainment throughout Halifax. He was formerly the lead editor of the Truro News and The News (New Glasgow) weekly publications. Hailing from Norris Arm North, a small community in central Newfoundland, his aversion to the outside world has led him...
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