MAX ERNST (he/ him)
Producer | Songwriter | Band Member of SHAED
Words to live by
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Your impact on the District
As a gay artist with permanent roots in D.C., I want to elevate the voices of LGBTQ+ artists living in the city. We’ve partnered with Capital Pride Alliance on a new initiative called The Colorful Campaign that raises money for LGBTQ+ organizations in the city through a collection of remixes of our new song “Colorful.” We’ve already recruited some incredible LGBTQ+ national touring acts like Kat Cunning, but I’m even more thrilled about the potential to showcase up-and-coming artists in the DMV who identify as LGBTQ+. The Colorful Campaign was born out of the story behind the song: my coming out to my twin brother and his wife Chelsea (my bandmates and best friends) a decade ago. They helped me embrace my sexuality, and when we wrote this song together, we wanted to convey the transformative power of acceptance: the profound impact love and support can have on LGBTQ+ people. All profits generated by the “Colorful” remixes will go to a new fund being launched by Capital Pride Alliance in June called the GivePride365 fund. The “Colorful” campaign’s official launch date is June 11, but in the meantime, you can check out “Colorful” by SHAED on all streaming platforms.
How D.C. supports the LGBTQ+ community
I’ve traveled to cities all over the country on tour, and the spirit of Pride is visibly present in D.C. on a much larger scale than most other major cities I’ve been to. You feel that energy when you see Pride flags displayed on many homes and D.C. establishments. You feel it when a hundred thousand people show up to party their asses off in the streets of D.C. for the Capital Pride Parade in non-pandemic years. And you feel it when you walk down 14th Street in spring and see more LGBTQ+ couples holding hands than straight couples. As a cis white male, I recognize that my comfortability as an openly gay man living in D.C. isn’t the same for all members of the LGBTQ+ community living here, but I do believe D.C. offers a uniquely welcoming environment when compared to most other places I’ve traveled to.
What the city can improve upon
Nearly 43 percent of homeless youth in D.C. identify as LGBTQ+ and of that 43 percent more than half are people of color. Creating awareness of this tragic statistic and generating funds that go to those who are most in need is an area we can always improve in. Capital Pride Alliance is well aware of this and the GivePride365 Fund being launched in conjunction with the “Colorful Campaign” will directly benefit multiple organizations that provide resources for LGBTQ+ homeless youth.
What you’re looking forward to most this summer
I can’t wait to play a concert for our hometown fans, but until then, I’m looking forward to sipping a gin and tonic on a rooftop bar with views of this beautiful city that I’m proud to call home.
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