It’s a busy summer for D.C. trio SHAED. In addition to basking in the glow of their recently released album “High Dive,” they’ve kicked off the Colorful Campaign, a multi-faceted fundraising and awareness project that will raise money for and shine a light on the LGBTQ+ community. Through music, food, drink, events and more, the band will support the Capital Pride Alliance‘s GivePride365 Fund.
Some of these initiatives include a Pride Blend from Compass Coffee, events and fundraising from Settle Down Easy Brewing, covers and remixes of SHAED’s song “Colorful,” and so much more. We caught up with Max Ernst, the band’s multi-instrumentalist, for an in-depth look at the campaign, its many aspects and how you can lend support.
District Fray: I know we previously spoke about how you and the band wanted to give back to communities in D.C. and beyond through the release of your new album, but how did the specific idea for the Colorful Campaign come about?
Max Ernst: Because our song “Colorful” was inspired by the incredible support I received when coming out to my band mates (my twin brother Spencer and best friend Chelsea) we wanted to raise money for people in the LGBTQ+ community that don’t have the same support I had. With that in mind, we teamed up with Capital Pride Alliance to create the Colorful Campaign, which raises money through remixes of “Colorful,” and the sale of “Colorful” themed products by participating D.C. businesses.
The Colorful Campaign is far reaching within the D.C. and LGBTQ+ community. What aspects of the campaign were most important to you to be represented?
The GivePride 365 Fund, that all of the money raised from the Colorful Campaign will go to, is looking to help those in the community that have the least access to support and are the most vulnerable to discrimination and violence. Trans women — specifically trans women of color — are at the top of that list in D.C. and nationwide.
How did you come to work with other artists like Kat Cunning, The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and richmusicrich on remixes and covers of “Colorful”?
Kat Cunning has this beautiful, rich voice that we thought would pair super well with Chelsea. Kat is also very outspoken about being nonbinary and is always celebrating and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, so when we reached out to Kat and they were down to collaborate together, it was a no brainer. Chelsea discovered Rich on TikTok and we just all fell in love with his voice. He did a TikTok where he talked about being gay, so we reached out, shared the song and asked if he wanted to be a part of the campaign [and] he was down too. The Gay Men’s Chorus came about through a Capital Pride Alliance connection. The beauty of this campaign is that even though we only have three finalized remixes of “Colorful” we plan to keep adding more remixes to the campaign well beyond pride month. This campaign doesn’t have an end date.
What are you most excited about when it comes to each remix and/or cover?
I just love that these artists are singing so passionately about something that is so personal to me but also relates to their unique coming out experiences. That common ground we share is very special for me.
Is there any particular facet of your campaign that you’re most proud of?
I’m so so proud of the music video we created for this song and campaign. We wanted to represent all facets of the LGBTQ+ community in D.C. and the 16 people who volunteered their time to be in this video all put their hearts out on the line in their performances. It was super powerful seeing all these people from such different backgrounds rallying behind the message of the song.
How do you hope to see the campaign impact the LGBTQ+ community and D.C. community at large?
Beyond raising a ton of money for those most in need, I hope this campaign creates an even stronger sense of pride, love and acceptance within the LGBTQ+ community and its allies here in D.C. I want this song and music video to highlight how diverse, beautiful and resilient D.C.’s LGBTQ+ community is.
How will the Colorful Campaign continue throughout the year and into the future?
The plan is to continue to feature more LGBTQ+ artists on “Colorful” remixes, and get more D.C. businesses on board to support the cause.
What’s the best thing about being part of D.C.’s LGBTQ+ community?
I’ve become friends with people from all different backgrounds in this community, and love how diverse this scene is.
And similarly, in what ways would you like to see it grow and improve?
I’d love to see more calls to action within the community to benefit trans women of color.
100% of the net proceeds from downloads and streams of “Colorful” will go toward the GivePride365 Fund, in addition to direct donations during the campaign. To learn more, visit www.pride365.org/givepride365. Keep up with SHAED, listen to their new album and more at www.shaedband.com and follow @shaedband on Instagram.
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