Back in 2010, we presented Michael Franti with the Ralph J. Gleason Award to honor his musical work bringing people together.
As the recipient of the Rex Foundation’s 2010 Ralph J. Gleason Award, honoring people who strive to bring fresh cultural ideas and music to the mainstream public, Michael Franti helps to carry this flame of the power of music. With a musical message that transcends cultures, Franti is uniquely a product of his home, the San Francisco Bay Area–its music, its proud diversity and sense of inclusion, and its fight for social justice and peace. He’s addressed such issues as the death penalty and corporate globalization, and has explored the human cost of war with visits to Iraq, Israel, and Palestine in his 2005 documentary I Know I’m Not Alone.
We sent Casey Lowdermilk to interview Franti the next year, and he had a lot of soulful and thought-provoking comments — all of which seem really timely still!
“I’ve always loved the community around the Dead and the fact that anytime you go to a concert experience there’s always this incredible diversity of people — and also this unwritten higher calling that people should do good for each other and that people should help plan it out. I’ve always shared that vision in my music. What I’ve done is try to bring that to as many people, even beyond the festival community and more into the mainstream community; that idea of consciousness.”