The pandemic has proven to be quite the hindrance to the livelihoods of many, but few industries have been as affected as bars and performing venues. Joining with Crown Royal and Main Street Alliance, Ari Lennox and Anthony Ramos have joined an effort to provide relief to those spaces.
CASSIUS had the good fortune of speaking briefly with Ms. Lennox, who was at an undisclosed location but engaging as ever. In our chat, the Dreamville songstress shared her role in supporting this new campaign and also revealing what she misses most about performing her music for live audiences.
Speaking of Crown Royal and Main Street Alliance’s efforts, Lennox applauded the venture.
“I think it’s beautiful that [Crown Royal] they are thinking about these venues, these legendary venues that have had so many amazing, great legendary performers, and that energy needs to continue on.”
She added, “Also people need to keep their jobs, I feel like if we close these venues down, these people lose their jobs and that’s not cool. Bartenders, technicians, security, so many different that play a part in keeping these venues running.”
Lennox also made mention of the way these venues are great spaces for both music enjoyment, socialization, and fellowship. With the loss of spaces for crowds to gather, especially as health officials battle the pandemic’s spread, there’s also an additional loss of human interaction. She also mentioned how performers need interaction with crowds just as listeners who are enjoying the show inspire energy in the performer.
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“I think it’s so dope that Crown Royal is making an effort to keep these venues alive and popping in the middle of a global pandemic,” Lennox said, with a positive tone in her voice.
When asked what she missed most about performing, Lennox gave a surprising yet genuine answer.
“I love seeing little babies, and kids at my shows, I know that’s random,” Lennox said with a laugh, but careful to add, “but they probably shouldn’t be there.”
Lennox added of what she missed, “I love seeing Black women, free and happy and just feeling themselves and talking their sh*t just as I’m talking my sh*t. That’s just a good vibe. And their boos, holding them, supporting them, and jamming, it’s just good energy. I miss that.”
During this portion of the chat, Lennox began to hammer home that connection with music and crowds, sharing intimately that she could be feeling down but seeing the crowd respond favorably to her art puts those thoughts at ease.
For fans missing out on hearing Ms. Lennox’s vocal talent, a new track just dropped featuring the Washington Metro Area native alongside singer and actor Anthony Ramos for a cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s “If You Want Me To Stay” as part of the Crown Royal and Main Street Alliance campaign, which also has support from Dreamville/Interscope and Republic Records.
Crown Royal will donate funds to Main Street Alliance for each time the song is streamed. Main Street Alliance is a nonprofit organization established to assist small businesses across the nation, increasing opportunity and equity across the small business sector.
“I am excited to continue my partnership with Crown Royal and give back to bars, stages and clubs,” Anthony Ramos shared in a press statement. “I have always loved what Crown Royal stands for, and this project has motivated me to put in 110% towards the art I put out as we look to directly help these small businesses survive.”
As our chat with Ms. Lennox neared its conclusion, we asked about upcoming music. With her focus squarely on “If You Want Me To Stay,” at the moment, Lennox stated that she’s intending to take her time with releasing music but will have something either this coming fall or winter.
In a final message, Lennox wanted her fans to know that “it’s okay to be themselves, it’s okay to be authentic. It works for me, it’ll work for them.”
Give a listen to Ari Lennox and Anthony Ramos’ “If You Want Me To Say” below. Find the song as the DSP of your choosing by clicking here.