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Diversity.
One of the foremost qualities in nature that defines our planet.

Richard Cushing | Co-founder of funk / soul / jam stalwarts, FreeWorld

Without it, all flowers would smell the same, every creature would look the same, and all people would be the same.

Life would not only be incredibly boring, but virtually impossible without the multitude of diverse beings populating our world. The endless variety of colors, thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, styles, desires, hopes, and dreams just within humanity alone is astounding.

It was this reality that inspired Richard Cushing, leader of the Memphis-based musical ensemble, FreeWorld, to envision the re-recording of their song, D-Up (Here’s to Diversity) in the fall of 2020.

Montage of musicians recording D-Up (Here’s to Diversity)

Trading verses, were some of the city’s finest singers, from Joyce Cobb to Al Kapone, from Wendy Moten to Hope Clayburn to Earl “The Pearl” Banks, from Larry Springfield to Harold Thomas and Robert Wrightsil of the Masqueraders. And, beyond FreeWorld, the band included the likes of Luther Dickinson, Alice Hasen, and Blind Mississippi Morris. All of them were lifting their voices and their instruments to celebrate the same thing: diversity.

Watch the video HERE!
Read the recent write-up about it in the Memphis Flyer Music Blog HERE!

The song (with lyrics written by David Skypeck) and accompanying video (produced by Justin Jaggers), came bursting forth with new life through the amazing production talents of Niko Lyras, along with the instrumental & vocal contributions of over three dozen established entertainers, talented newcomers, and legacy artists (see below), who all came together and donated their time and talents to create a work of art that celebrates and exemplifies the musical, cultural, emotional, intellectual, and Spiritual unity and diversity inherent in our city and the world beyond.

This project was not conceived to raise money for any cause. It was brought to fruition to raise awareness of our deep need as a people to appreciate the ever-expanding palate of our diverse reality here on planet Earth, to celebrate our racial and cultural differences, and to help us all embrace the true worth of our uniqueness and individuality.

As the lyrics of the song say …

There is power in our differences
So maybe we can use it to further our existences
With Communication, Respect, and Harmony
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP!)

D-Up (Here’s to Diversity)

CREDITS

VOCALISTS (in order of first vocal appearance):
Al Kapone
Walter White
Jerome Chism
Hope Clayburn
Wendy Moten
Adam Levin
Katrina Anderson
Chris Johnson
Reba Russell
Marcella Simien
Todd Poole
Richard Cushing
Larry Springfield
Lexi Roberson
Chris Stephenson
Marcela Pinilla
Tierinii Jackson Naftaly
Joyce Cobb
Prentice Wulff-Woesten
Harold Thomas & Robert Wrightsil (The Masqueraders)
Terrance Simien
Earl “The Pearl” Banks

RHYTHM SECTION:
Richard Cushing – Bass
George Lawrence – Drums
Andy Tate – Guitars
Niko Lyras – Guitars
Luther Dickinson – Slide Guitar
Ori Naftaly – Guitar
Chris Stephenson – Hammond Organ
Blind Mississippi Morris – Harmonica
Alice Hasen – Violin

HORN SECTION:
Peter Climie – Baritone Saxophone (+ Arrangement)
Lannie McMillan – Tenor Saxophone
Hope Clayburn – Alto Saxophone
John Gutierrez – Trumpet
Paul McKinney – Trumpet
Freedman Steorts – Trombone

TECH:
Niko Lyras – Producer; Recording & Mixing Engineer
Cotton Row Studio, Memphis, TN.
Brad Blackwood – Mastering Engineer
Euphonic Masters, Memphis, TN.
Justin Jaggers – Video Production
Additional video provided by Mark Cianciolo
Laura Haynes – American Sign Language
Executive Producer – Richard Cushing
Recorded September – December, 2020

SONG:
D-Up (Here’s To Diversity)
© 1999, 2021 All That Music / SwirlDisc / ASCAP (D. Skypeck, R. Cushing, B. Overstreet, P. Wulff-Woesten, A. Bailey).

All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws.

Dedicated to David Skypeck, Dr. Herman Green, Nokie Taylor, Larry Finch, & the City of Memphis, TN.

LYRICS

D-Up (Here’s to Diversity) | FreeWorld

Mane, what they don’t know is:
This city was built on Diversity, ya hear me?
I mean, we got this color, that color…
You know what I’m saying? This group, that group…
Mane, when we come together, though
Mane, that Diversity creates something massive
Memphis, let’s show ‘em how we do it!

Memphis, fire up the melting pot
Stir it up and see just what we’ve got
What we’ve got is another chance
To learn from our mistakes, and try to make a stand

Jammed together in a mixed-up nation
Here we are, let’s make the best of this situation
There is power in our differences
So maybe we can use it to further our existences

Sink or swim, we’re all in this together
And there’ll be times when it’s more than we can weather
With communication, respect, and harmony

Here’s to Diversity (D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP! D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP! D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP! D-UP!)

D-Up my sisters and brothers
Let’s put those bad things aside
The past will never be gone but I know
That it’s time to move on, move on

The difference somehow
I hope that we all know
The choice is yours right now
To self-destruct or grow

Sink or swim, we’re all in this together
And there’ll be times when it’s more than we can weather
With communication, respect, and harmony

Here’s to Diversity (D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP! D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP! D-UP!)

Let me get right to the real / You know who it is
This is the life that I live / Proud of my culture but still
Embrace the rest / Long as they keepin’ it real
Building new bonds and new bridges / So much in common
Listen & learning to chill / See through the eyes of another
Good times and pain / Empathize if you can feel
If you embrace
Nothing but love, ain’t no hate
Nothing but love, that’s the way
Many have paid with they life / Ain’t none of it right
Ya memory live to this day
Where there’s a will there’s a way
Gotta keep paving the way
And if you hear this and hate
That’s just the price that I’m willing to pay
For Diversity

Don’t turn your back on reality, you gotta know about the past
Achieve equality and make it last
How we’re gonna do it is anybody’s guess
Go ahead and fire it up – a spark in all this darkness
It’s easy not to think about it, but it’s gonna come around
Still affecting us right now
The damage is done, a long way to go
Move on to the positive, flying dove and crow

Sink or swim, we’re all in this together
And there’ll be times where it’s more than we can weather
With communication, respect, and harmony

Here’s to Diversity (D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP! D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP! D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP! D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversi-Diversi-Diversity (D-UP!)
We’ve got to come together
We’ve got to love one another
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP! D-UP!)
Here’s to Diversity (D-UP!)

© 1999, 2021 All That Music / SwirlDisc / ASCAP | (D. Skypeck, R. Cushing, B. Overstreet, P. Wulff-Woesten, A. Bailey).

 

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