With Swan Strings, aside from providing approximately 210 hours of free music education and serving 166 children, Garland hopes to spread some of the funds from her GoFundMe to other music educators: “Just being an artist in Dallas, I know that other musicians need other opportunities for income, prior to COVID-19. I really want to give that opportunity to other musicians.”
Similarly, Ahya Simone says that hiring women to work on her webseries, Femme Queen Chronicles, was a priority: “ I wanted to pay everyone fairly for their participation. I also wanted this production to have girls in front of and behind the screen: interns, doing Instagram stories, assisting during production, script revisions, etc. Collaboration with people of the community was super important… to foster opportunities for my friends and communities to make and display and come home to themselves with art. I want to create a cultural center in Detroit for Black LGBTQ people with an emphasis of being Black trans led and centered.” She adds that as far as music, she periodically donates sales from her debut single “Frostbite” directly to Black trans people or to local Detroit grassroots organizing groups.
These women, while all very different in their experiences and identities, all express a similar sentiment: the music industry at large must support Black women musicians and students. We suggest that along with setting up recurring donations to larger organizations working towards anti-racism, you should also consider regularly donating to individuals. We’ve included more information below about the artists featured as a place to start, but consider checking out smaller organizations that often list individual fundraisers, including Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, a collective of Black trans femmes dedicated to creating space for themselves in the arts and beyond, who are currently working on an Black femme artist/resource directory; and Nina’s Daughters Collective, a Canadian community of Black women building a safe space to meet, create, and share knowledge. “There is no freedom without art and music,” says Ahya Simone—and history has shown us that there is no evolution of art and music without the pioneering vision of Black women.