Singer-Activist Taina Asili Enlists Lila Downs, Immortal Technique, Talib Kweli & More For '¡Viva Puerto Rico!' Benefit Album
A bevy of well-known Puerto Rican, and other Latinx and black artists released a benefit compilation album on Monday (Oct. 23) to raise funds for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico.
The album, titled ¡Viva Puerto Rico!, was organized by New York-based Puerto Rican singer-activist Taina Asili, and features previously released music from 20 rising and renowned musicians, including Public Enemy's DJ Johnny Juice, Grammy-winning singer Lila Downs, hip-hop icons Immortal Technique and Talib Kweli, punk band Downtown Boys and indie stars Hurray for the Riff Raff, among many others.
"I am a musician, but first and foremost, I am an organizer, and felt pulled to use what I had at my disposal to organize for Puerto Rico," Taina Asili tells Billboard. "After being in touch with my family in Puerto Rico, and hearing from other activists and journalists about the lack of relief actually reaching the people, I knew I wanted to organize to help get more funding to the grassroots organizations in Puerto Rico that are directly serving the people on the ground. I decided to reach out to artists I have previously worked with, and artists whose work I respected, to ask for contributions for the compilation album.
"Given the urgency of what is happening, artists were excited to contribute," Asili continues. "Music has always been a powerful tool of resistance and resilience for Puerto Ricans. My music, my activism and this compilation album are a part of this legacy."
Proceeds from the compilation will go directly to MariaFund.org, where 100 percent of monetary donations will be used to support immediate relief, recovery and equitable rebuilding on the island, especially for communities hit hardest by the storm.
Asili, known for her politically-charged performances and recordings (see: “Freedom,” lauded as a Black Lives Matter anthem), asked Public Enemy's DJ Johnny Juice to provide the only new track on the album, which is a remix of Asili's "Sofrito," a song about the strength and resilience of the Puerto Rican nation.
“As a member of Public Enemy, I have contributed to disaster efforts like Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti,” says DJ Johnny Juice. “This however is different. As a proud Boricua from the South Bronx, I have family members on the island. The spirit of my ancestors inhabit Borikén. To help rebuild the land of my people is a moral imperative. I thank Taina Asili for allowing me the honor of participating.”
Support the cause by purchasing and listening to the album here.