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This is a blog dedicated to art, music and writing happening in Los Angeles. There is also a focus on Downtown LA.
photo by Jeanette D. Moses for Paste Magazine
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Former lead singer of local band Those Darlins Jessi Zazu has been facing serious health issues since she was diagnosed with cancer seven months ago. This October, she learned that her cancer had metastasized, and her fight against the disease will last longer than originally anticipated. To help cover the cost of living expenses and bills, she has launched a fundraising website at https://www.youcaring.com/jessizazu-718972.
Despite her diagnosis, Zazu has been working on art and music projects, including a new album. Please find her official statement here:
As most of you know, Those Darlins decided to call it quits as a band in early 2016. We all mutually felt it was time to take a step back and pursue other projects, and it has been a really good decision for all of us. My plan was to continue on exploring my own musical path with my bandmate Linwood Regensburg, and we had a baby project in the oven even as we were finishing up our final blow-out tour with Those Darlins (which was a blast!).
Although I was in poor health during the span of that tour, I never would have guessed that a week after I arrived back to my home in Nashville, Tennessee I would be hospitalized and diagnosed with stage 2 cervical cancer. It came as a big shock, and my plans for making music and forging ahead in my art career suddenly took a back seat. I decided to keep the news relatively private, because I was hoping I could complete the treatment, beat the cancer, and move on from a temporary road block.
Unfortunately, this November, I found out that the cancer had already metastasized and spread through my lymphatic system, probably before I was first diagnosed. This is typically what they would call a "no cure scenario", but I refuse to believe that to be the case. I feel healthy, happy, hopeful, determined, positive, and full of sparks and nails. In a sense: there's a tumor growing on my body, I don't know what lays in store, but I ain't afraid anymore. Yes, I guess I am a mystic mind after all.
photo by Linwood Regensburg
In these next few months I plan to continue recording with Linwood and looking forward to a musical future with the world. I also am working on a visual art show about my experiences this year.
Zazu elaborates further on her experience and new project in this video.
(Those who want to send Jessi notes, CDs or art to wish her well should address all mail to Jessi Zazu, P.O. Box 92017, Nashville, TN 37209)
WE ARE NOT AFRAID --
Organized by Steve Weitzman, We Are Not Afraid
Enlists 200+ Rock Stars and Cultural Icons to Stand Against Violence and Hate and to Raise Funds to
Support Global Refugee Organizations
A Positive Statement in a Negative World, says
Director and Rock Photographer Bob Gruen
(New York, NY) - Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Bruce Springsteen, Robert De Niro, Sting, Ringo Starr, Patti Smith and Yoko Ono have come together with 200 other rock legends and cultural heroes to declare We Are Not Afraid, in a new video targeted to raise funds for victims of religious and political violence around the world.
Creator/organizer Steve Weitzman says We Are Not Afraid gives a voice to those whose voices often go unheard. Originally created as a 4-minute video, so many notables signed on that it needed to be lengthened. Enter legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen who expanded it into an 8-minute video. "It's a positive statement in a negative world," says Gruen who served as director. "I hope it becomes something that inspires people around the world to do their own versions. You shouldn't go through life being afraid."
Weitzman says, "my long-time friend Bob Gruen -- who was a very early supporter of this project and brought it to Yoko Ono's attention, resulting in her becoming the campaign's very first participant -- immediately offered to put together the long form We Are Not Afraid video when told of our plan. And for that we are deeply grateful."
Set to a catchy tune, "We Are Not Afraid" penned by Nigerian singer-songwriter Majek Fashek, the music video shows all the stars holding signs bearing the slogan We Are Not Afraid. It is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon and other major outlets with all proceeds being donated to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The campaign has enlisted a group of participants that reads like a Who's Who including Dr. Jane Goodall, Iggy Pop, Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne, Chuck D, Galactica, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, Darlene Love, Debbie Harry, Dion, Elvis Costello, Grandmaster Flash, Jeff Tweedy, Shep Gordon and Susan Sarandon.
The original 4-minute video directed by Kevin Godley had to be expanded to accommodate the flood of rock stars that wanted to take part in the campaign.
All are lending their voices in advocacy for the "We Are Not Afraid" campaign in response to the global refugee crisis and victims of religious and political violence.
"We're alarmed by the hateful and dangerous rhetoric coming from politicians across Europe and the United States," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "We must not allow the rising threat of racism and hate to violate our most basic principles of humanity. We're moved and grateful that so many artists are speaking out and standing with us for human rights."
David Millband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee added, "We applaud the efforts of the hundreds of public figures who have invested their time and talent to provide critical aid to help refugees and raise awareness about their plight. When too many politicians are trading in fear it is heartening to see people of renown and credibility standing up for hope."
"We're all together now!" said artist and peace activist Yoko Ono in reflection of the superstar talent that has joined forces around one powerful statement: "We Are Not Afraid" to stand against the countless acts of violence, hate, discrimination and abuse witnessed globally."
American rock and country singer-songwriter Steve Earle offered, "We are a nation of immigrants, MOST of whom were refugees from one human tragedy or another. The very idea of closing our hearts and our borders out of fear of newcomers is the death of the American Dream itself."
For more information on "We Are Not Afraid"