Add Your Voice to Killer Mike's Chorus of Protest at SayItWith.Me
In June, at the height of the George Floyd protests, Goodby Silverstein & Partners innovation director Adam Reeves and senior designer Benny Gold felt conflicted about attending demonstrations as Covid-19 raged through the nation.
"Both of us have young children, and we are doing our best to keep them safe and healthy," Gold tells Muse.
They discussed the situation and we came up with the idea "to create a digital platform that allows people to add their voices to the growing chorus of discontent in this county" from the safety of their homes, Gold says.
Working with artist/activist Killer Mike, software developer Chikai Ohazama (who helped create Google Earth) and Donny Dykowsky of music house Ski Team, they devised Sayitwith.me, which went live this week.
The venue lets users join in an impassioned chant to replace the Trump administration at the polls in November. "No more years!" Killer Mike says over an insistent beat and snippets of a powerful speech he gave on May 29 in Atlanta.
Folks turn on their mics and record themselves chanting. Then, the software adds their voice to the mix. Users can post the audio in social and invite others to join in.
"The audience is anyone who is mad enough to shout from the rooftops, but too worried about Covid to go to the marches," Gold says. "We are starting with grassroots, using Killer Mike's Instagram following, along with our own, to help get the word out."
Eventually, "we hope to lend this tool to other people and movements" and create an internet playlist based on different chants and messages, says Reeves. There's also an IRL component, with plans for a "Podium of the People" to join various marches and broadcast the chants into the streets:
"This podium will make appearances at protests around the country before taking its rightful place in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, streaming our chant at the White House's current occupants, ensuring our voices are heard," Reeves says.
Sayitwith.me's righteous indignation feels especially apt and poignant today, as folks take to the streets decrying the grand jury decision in the case of Breonna Taylor. (Goodby frequently stands up for social justice, recently transforming the facade of its San Francisco office building with large block letters that read, "Being Black is not a crime.")
Intriguingly, a picture of Beatle John Lennon and Yoko Ono tops Sayitwith.me. The shot, from 1969, was taken during one of the pair's high-profile "Bed-Ins" for peace as the Vietnam War and racial unrest rocked Richard Nixon's America. Its presence links the current audio project with protest movements of the past, reminding us to stay vigilant and never stop fighting for what's right.
"We were inspired by John and Yoko, and thought others would be," Gold says. "And if they don't know who John and Yoko are, it's high time they found out."