Partner Pick

Wake Me Up

“Singer, songwriter, and self-proclaimed ‘artivist’ Aloe Blacc, the son of Black Panamanian immigrants, agreed to work with NDLON to produce a music video about the journey migrants face to come to the U.S. in search for a better life. The music video features real-life day laborers and undocumented youth organizers, most of whom had ongoing cases about their status or family members who faced imminent deportation.”
– Marco Loera, Director of Art and Technology

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The song “Wake Me Up” by Avicii was a smash hit single, breaking many online streaming records, but the singer, songwriter, and self-proclaimed ‘artivist’ on the track Aloe Blacc, was never given recognition for his role and value in the song. Aloe Blacc, the son of Black Panamanian immigrants, agreed to work with NDLON to produce a music video about the journey migrants face to come to the U.S. in search for a better life. The music video features real-life day laborers and undocumented youth organizers, most of whom have ongoing cases about their status or family members who faced imminent deportation. This music video serves as an organizing tool to uplift the stories of these open cases and share them with a mass audience, helping us fight to stop their deportations through deportation defense campaigns and legal strategies. When people get to tell their own stories, art and life converge. With the video, Aloe’s song serves as a soundtrack for the moment and shows the world that both day laborers and dreamers are deserving of respect and inclusion.

“What it comes down to in my songwriting is trying to tell the story of the underdog and all the obstacles they have to overcome in this life… Having grown up in an immigrant family myself, I know that the stories in the video are not a fiction. It’s time that we wake up about immigration and I hope our video can help do that.”
– Aloe Blacc

Every month we highlight a guest curator. This month’s curatorial partner, NDLON (National Day Laborer Organizing Network) improves the lives of day laborers, migrants and low-wage workers. We build leadership and power among those facing injustice so they can challenge inequality and expand labor, civil and political rights for all. Learn more at ndlon.org.

Aloe Blacc

With “Wake Me Up” – the mega-hit Aloe Blacc sang and co-wrote for Swedish DJ Avicii and saw climb to #1 in over 100 countries across the globe – the Grammy nominated singer, songwriter proved he has an irresistible power to capture the complexities of human emotion. Blacc’s third solo album Lift Your Spirit (XIX Recordings/Interscope Records), pushed further into a folk/soul/pop fusion that’s both undeniably joyful and eye-opening in message. Adding an of-the-moment twist to the music of legends like Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder, Lift Your Spirit was built on songs that pair Blacc’s poetic yet incisive lyrics with huge hooks and relentless feel-good grooves. With “Wake Me Up” having sold more than close to 5 million copies in the U.S. and streamed half a billion plays, Blacc notes that one of his main ambitions is to use his popularity to affect social change while continuing to infuse his music with a mindful positivity.