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Pop / Rock 26/10/2023

The Suffers' Kam Franklin Sheds Light With Powerful New Single "Byrd And Shepard"

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The Suffers' Kam Franklin Sheds Light With Powerful New Single "Byrd And Shepard"
New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Today, The Suffers' frontwoman Kam Franklin has released her powerful new single "Byrd and Shepard." A stirring dedication to the legacies of James Byrd Jr. and Matthew Shepard, Franklin sheds light on their stories 25 years following their tragic passings, sharing an integral part of Black and queer history with an impactful message of hope and justice for a new generation. FLOOD featured the new track, noting, "'Byrd and Shepard' honors the titular victims by bluntly acknowledging the lack of progress - if not downright regression - our elected officials have made in amending our legal code to prevent this sort of tragedy." All proceeds from "Byrd and Shepard" will benefit The Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing and the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Of the song, Franklin says: "James Byrd Jr. was murdered in Jasper, TX, on June 7, 1998. He was killed by white supremacists for being black. Four months later, Matthew Shepard was killed in Laramie, Montana, for being gay. Byrd Jr. was murdered on my 11th birthday, and the stories of both men and their brutal murders have stayed with me ever since. I wrote this song to share their stories with a new generation because we are currently living in a time where Black and Queer history are under attack. Despite the National Hate Crime Bill being named after James Byrd Jr. and Matthew Shepard in 2009, in 2023, the Anti-Defamation League reported a '38 percent increase in incidents from the previous year, with a total of 6,751 cases reported in 2022, compared to 4,876 in 2021. This is the highest number of white supremacist propaganda incidents ADL has ever recorded.' Nina Simone said that an artist's duty is to reflect the times. Consider 'Byrd and Shepard' as me doing my part as an artist in 2023. It's been 14 years since The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 was signed into law. Do you think America is moving in the right direction? The eradication of hate starts with love, conversation, education, and the sharing of the truth."

"Byrd and Shepard" was produced by Franklin and co-written with Sara Van Buskirk. The song features Sara Van Buskirk (guitars and BGVs), Geoffrey Muller (bass), Lisa E. Harris (operatic BGVs), Ed "Blacknintendo" Prevost (piano and organ), Will Van Horn (pedal steel), The Suffers' Jose "Chapy" Luna (drums and percussion) and Sabrii Anderson (flute). It was recorded by Jose "Chapy" Luna, mixed by John Allen Stephens, and mastered by Chris Longwood.

The song is Franklin's second solo release after 2022's "Ya Girl Didn't Listen", which earned praise from BrooklynVegan, Relix and more. That same year, The Suffers released their critically acclaimed album It Starts With Love via Missing Piece Records. It Starts With Love garnered support from NPR's All Things Considered, TOP40-CHARTS, SPIN, Entertainment Tonight, Consequence, NPR Music, The Bluegrass Situation and Rolling Stone who included the band in their June print issue, saying, "The first LP in four years from the Houston collective led by singer-songwriter Kam Franklin is a thrilling mix of textured R&B, soaring power ballads, and Gulf Coast funk."

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