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  Windy City Times

Great Caesar releases marriage equality song and video
From a press release
2014-01-20

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NEW YORK CITY — Indie-rock band Great Caesar released a new music video for their song "Don't Ask Me Why," a bold and ambitious production that promotes love and equality.

Created by filmmaker Alex K Colby and Ticking Clock Productions, the video juxtaposes stories of an interracial couple growing up in the 1960s and two same-sex couples today, illuminating parallels between these struggles and provoking conversations about prejudice, identity, and social justice.

The mantra "Don't Ask Me Why" states that support of love in all its forms requires no preconditions. As efforts to fight legal and social injustices continually break new ground, Great Caesar intends to inspire all people to speak out on behalf of equality, regardless of orientation or identity. The band and filmmaker, many of them friends from childhood, drew on their own experiences and beliefs to form a philosophical basis for the project.

According to singer John-Michael Parker, "We believe that everyone deserves the right to define and communicate their identity — in all its beauty and complexity — on their own terms, and that we must develop nuanced cultural narratives that are empowering and that engender empathy."

"We all confront the pressure to define ourselves against pre-existing identities," says saxophonist Stephen Chen, "and sometimes find a disconnect between our actual experiences and the obligations of those categories. Regardless of our own personal identities, we want to question the culture that forces people to take on those labels in the first place."

The band, also featuring Adam Glaser [bass], Tom Sikes [trumpet], and Mike Farrell [guitar], raised over $50,000 for the production, and traveled back to their hometown of Madison, CT to film the story that focuses on three couples — McGill and Marie, an interracial couple who we see growing up together; two young men on the football team facing discrimination in the locker room; and two young women who struggle to share their relationship at home.

Backed by 618 funders through the popular crowd-funding site Kickstarter and with the support of celebrities including Super Bowl Champion Brendon Ayanbadejo and Wade Davis, Jr., a gay ex-NFL player and co-founder of YOU Belong, this is not your typical rock-band music video. Viewers will see stories of love and oppression, and characters taking bold risks. Mixing rich instrumentals with full-bodied vocals, the song moves from themes of personal courage and acceptance to inclusivity and generational hopes and dreams.

"This video is important because it's not only about our history, it's also about how we're going to change history," explains Ayanbadejo, former Baltimore Raven and LGBT advocate. Ayanbadejo assisted efforts in Maryland to uphold gay marriage there, and last year he joined former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe in filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of legalized same-sex marriages in California.

Says Parker, National Dream Director with The Future Project, "We dream of a just, loving, and self-expressed world in which everyone can experience the equality that has been the hope and promise of an ongoing struggle and the work and sacrifice of countless people throughout history. We are proud and humbled to premiere this video today as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy."

Caption: From left: Mike Farrell, Sean Andrew, Stephen Chen, Adam Glaser, Meliki Hurd, Tom Sikes, Kylie McVey, and John-Michael Parker.

See the Great Caesar - Don't Ask Me Why ( Official Video ) at the link: www.youtube.com/watch .


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