American poet, musician, and composer Michael Franti and his band Spearhead have been rocking their message of peace, love, and social justice since 1994.
Blending funk reggae, jazz, folk, and rock, their album is “All People.” Their high-energy shows, which they perform around the country, get the audience jumping, singing, and dancing.
Often the band is part of ensemble shows, including their performance on Dec. 14 at the 25th annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam in Ashville, NC. We were privileged to meet Franti and interview him at his hotel just before the concert.
Check out our podcast interview on the Inkandescent Radio Network. And scroll down for our Q&A.
Be Inkandescent: Let’s start off talking about your Do It For The Love Foundation. What inspired you and co-founder Sara Agah to create this nonprofit organization?
Michael Franti: My better half, Sara, is an emergency room nurse, and for the last couple of years we have been trying to figure out a way to combine what she does in healthcare with my music. Our Do It For The Love Foundation brings people to live concerts who are in an advanced stage of a life-threatening illness, as well as kids with severe challenges and veterans.
It’s the perfect fit because I’ve been making music and touring for 27 years, and over the years, I have had a lot of people tell me they know someone who is dying and would love to meet me. I’ve been in Iraq to play music on the streets for both Iraqi civilians as well as soldiers. I have played in Walter Reed Hospital and I have met a lot of veterans along the way, and a lot of families who have kids with special needs. We started the Foundation in August 2013 and it has really taken off. We started out assuming just the two of us could do it all ourselves, and now it has grown so large we have one full-time worker and are about to hire a second one.
The best part of my work with the Foundation is meeting people. Just last night I met a young woman who has lymphoma and has had a difficult life. Although she is an honors student, her disease has worsened to the point where she has had to stop going to school. A friend of hers got in touch with us and they all flew down to our show as a surprise to her. When I sat and talked with her, she told me she has lived with pain her whole life, and it is just getting worse and worse. She says she doesn’t have much time to live, but that she is worried about the world, and that if she could take away everyone’s pain even just for 15 minutes, she would take it on herself.
I was so moved by hearing this 20-year-old woman say that, and by meeting her younger brother and his friend who were both 17 and who had pulled off this whole plan to get her here through our Foundation. Read rest of article