Social justice is about education. Not all children’s music has to educate. A new generation of performers are learning to adapt their music to broaden the mind and teach dance steps. Straight from the Bronx, New York (my hometown), comes Fyütch with Family tree, his first version of songs especially for children and their extensive support systems.
Although it is not as fully invested in the afrofuturism
movement as fellow musician Pierce Freelon (guest on “This Kwanzaa” on this collection), Fyütch seeks to celebrate black history and culture. With a multitude of notable collaborators, he uses hip hop, rap, soul, R&B, reggae, etc. Fyütch also deftly tackles the climate emergency and recycling (“Pick It Up”), general compassion (“Empathy” with Grammy winner Lucy kalantari
), and the appropriation of native lands (“Indigenous Peoples Day” with Radmilla Cody
, Navajo / African American musician / activist).
Life lessons are a primary concern for Fyütch, who has a three-year-old daughter (Aura, pictured with him on the album cover). Emphasizing that “Black History is American History,” Fyütch emphasizes “Black Women in History,” with Rissi Palmer and Snooknuk including living winners including Stacey Abrams, Kamala Harris and the Dr Kizzmekia “Kizzy” Corbett, as well as past figures Fannie Lou Hamer, Claudette Colvin, J Frankie Pierce, Rebecca Crumpler, Jane Hinton and Alfreda Webb. With the advice of the historian Dr Sherri Mehta
, Fyütch delivers “Juneteenth” with the Rockers alphabet
, chronicling the emancipation of African Americans in post-slavery North America.
“Black Lives Matter” encompasses more than mutual respect with law enforcement. It is clearly more difficult for black citizens to be successful or achieve their goals. Fyütch and SaulPaul address this topic on “Graduation Bop,” highlighting how both were the first in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree. Among the other artists of Family tree
are Roxx Deity
on “Family reunion”, Uncle Jumbo
on “My Crown” (about the black hairstyle), and Sparkle
(Moonbeams) on the title song. The album features three generations of her family and interstitial conversations with Grandpa Charles, Great Aunt Alberta and Aunt Sheila.
The year 2021 is reaping a bumper crop of social justice children’s music projects, resetting the genre at its root. Fyütch uses Family tree to sow the seeds of social justice and activism among its young audience, while delivering catchy music to make children Generation C warriors.
Family tree is available on Fyutch’s website, Amazon, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Apple Music.
Here is the video of “Juneteenth” by Fyutch, with the Alphabet Rockers: