Spotify has launched an artistic collaboration called “I’m with the banned,” in an effort to protest against President Trump’s travel ban, which was recently put back into effect after a previous court order against it was struck down.
American-based musicians from the six countries affected by the ban — Iran, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya — were recruited by Spotify for the project. Working with Universal Music Group, they added more well-known artists, such as Desiigner and Pusha T to perform with them, creating six songs in the process. Songwriters and producers who had previously written for the likes of Beyonce and Justin Bieber were also roped in to help.
Spotify paired the musicians together to produce the following song combinations:
- Iranian DJ Kasra V with K.Flay on “Justify You”
- Syrian singer/songwriter Moh Flo with Pusha T for “Options”
- Somali group Waayaha Cusub with Desiigner for “Durbaan Ka Ii Tuma”
- Yemeni musician Methal with X Ambassadors for “Cycles”
- Sudanese electronic producer Sufyvn with BJ The Chicago Kid on “Thinking ‘Bout You (Sleepless in Cairo)”
- Libyan artist Ahmed Fakroun with Dr. Lonnie Smith for “Salam”
In a statement, Spotify explained that it wanted to “empower” the musicians that would have been affected by the travel ban had they not been in America. “In every era and in every country, groups of people have been excluded for their differences and ideas. Today is no exception,” a spokesman said. “But we know that cultural tensions and injustices inevitably find an expression in music — and champions in artists.”