After George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020, Jeff “Skin’ Wade had an epiphany.
As protests were going on all across America, Wade gathered a few of his powerful friends and started The Truth To Power Project, which exists to amplify resilience in the African-American communities. In essence, The Truth To Power Project is a creative endeavor that utilizes the power of collaborative music and puts the unrestricted funding directly into the hands of selected non-profits who are empowering African-American communities.
A member of the Dallas Mavericks’ television broadcast, Wade said: “The Truth To Power Project started last June (of 2020) when the pandemic was going on and it was after George Floyd was murdered and the sports and music community felt compelled to do something besides stand around and watch these things continue to happen. Athletes and musicians have platforms, and to be able to utilize them to try to bring people together and talk about our issues in real honest ways is important.”
Wade and Eastwood Music Group partner Luke Sardello partnered with Fort Worth musician and community activist Keite Young to assist in jumpstarting The Truth To Power Project. Along with the Max Gerl Quartet and Fort Worth musician Abraham Alexander, Young hosted an exclusive concert on Wednesday night at the House Of Blues.
“I guess you can call it a summer of unrest when George Floyd was murdered and everyone was in shocked and looking for a way to respond or to not feel helpless,” Young said. “Being we are both artists and heavily steep in the music industry, our natural process was to do music or do a record.
“I think personally, it’s the artist’s job to be that voice and to speak clearly on the things that are going on in our world today. We just kind of merged both of our ideas and found a way to make the music a vehicle for real concrete positive change in the areas of access and innovation and financing, so it led us here.”
Alexander, who drew a huge applause from Wednesday’s crowd after singing his version of Bridge Over Troubled Water, acknowledged that the whole idea of The Truth To Power Project is to “collaborate on something bigger than ourselves” while bringing multiple artists together and raising money for a good cause.
“It was really interesting to channel what I’ve been through, channel my energy, channel some of my dear friends and all get together and play,” Alexander said. “So this has been just an amazing experience and something I’ll be proud of for a very long time.
“It was so organic and probably one of the easiest processes of creating something that I’ve always wanted to be a part of.”
Mavs Chief Executive Officer Cynt Marshall and Mavs Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Gail O’Bannon were very pivotal in helping get this exceptional project off the ground.
“I went to Cynt Marshall and Gail very early in this process and they were very much on board with helping us,” Wade said. “So the Mavericks donated some money and some marketing muscle as part of their Mavs Take ACTION initiative to help us get everything recorded, get it manufactured, and then get the word out, and we had an extraordinary start.
“The album charted on the Billboard Top 20 complication records that week of June. We are releasing it digitally on July 30. We also partnered with Brass Tacks Collective, which is an incredible (Dallas-based) marketing firm. We wanted to make sure — when we could – to hire companies that were black-owned businesses so that we were putting money into that part of the community, because if those businesses thrive then the communities around them will thrive.”
Keisha Whaley, the owner of Brass Tacks Collective, said the albums created by the musicians and the merchandise are selling fast, and the story about The Truth To Power Project is sweeping across the country.
“We’re really seeing that people are willing to get behind it, whether or not they were approached by the non-profits directly in a traditional kind of fund-raising methods,” Whaley said. “It’s just been organic and flowing, but we’re doing really well.”
Whaley stressed that the partnership with the Mavs has been instrumental to the overall success of this project.
“The way that the Dallas Mavericks have worked — and it’s just not financial contributions,” Whaley said. “Their whole team is invested.
“We’re using the Mavs Take ACTION initiative to really live into the goals — the DNA of the Dallas Mavericks as a community organization — and weave that through into the Truth To Power initiative. The Dallas Mavericks have been so open, just absolutely open, with all of their time, with all of their support, with all of their resources. It’s been really, really amazing to see it unfold.”
And as it unfolds, the album consists of several different genres of music that Wade insists will have many fans across America tapping their feet in extreme jubilation.
“There’s rap, there’s soul, there’s jazz, there’s rock,” Wade said. “The idea was to try to raise some money as well as raise awareness for some good non-profits in the DFW area that we felt like were doing great work trying to counteract the ramifications of systemic racism.”