NEW ORLEANS (press release) – As part of Spotify’s CLAIM YOUR SPACE Pride campaign series, Spotify is working with local queer artists in New Orleans – where the queer community has been instrumental to the music scene – to claim their physical space through a permanent mural launching for Pride. When we say, CLAIM YOUR SPACE, we mean: Be seen. Be heard. Make noise. Make your presence known —boldly, disregarding barriers and boundaries, without apology, without permission. This Pride, and every Pride.
Spotify has partnered with muralist Mohammed Fayaz in creating a work celebrating the vibrance of the LGBTQ+ community in New Orleans and telling the story of their critical role in the country and roots scenes, as well as in activism in the city. Fayaz is a New York-native where he channeled his creativity into art, with a particular focus on depicting people of color. He created early promotional materials for the group Papi Juice, which was founded to celebrate queer and trans people of color, and became one of their core organizers.
“I fell in love with New Orleans after my first trip in Spring 2015, and found myself back just a few months later to collaborate on an event with the local queer scene. Like most who visit, those two trips left a sweet and lingering kiss in my mind. As soon as I could get a little time off work, I went back in January 2016 for the whole month on a self-imposed residency. There was a direct line between the New York and New Orleans queer scene then and they took me in as one of their own. All of the biking, all of the good food, all the gator dogs, and that laid back charm has stuck with me since. Our most recent outing there was with a Halloween party in 2019, where we came down as NY talent and booked all local acts. It’ll be one of my first stops as soon as it’s safe to get back,” said Fayaz.
The mural shines a spotlight on featured artists and activists local to the New Orleans area including Big Freedia, Sissy Nobby, Stewart Butler, Mariah Moore, Milan Sherry, Sy’ria Jackson and Princess Darrinisha in telling their own unique stories. I’ve included a photo of the mural below for your reference! Big Freedia also curated a playlist reflecting the sound of Pride in New Orleans.
In partnership with the nonprofit Youth BreakOUT!, an organization dedicated to ending the criminalization of LGBTQ+ youth, Spotify is dedicated to contributing to New Orleans in impactful ways. The mural is being given as a gift in partnership with Youth BreakOUT! to Café Istanbul at the New Orleans Healing Center. Spotify is also directly supporting Youth BreakOUT’s important work with a donation.
At the heart of this campaign is a desire to permanently create more space on our platform and in the culture for queer representation.