We’re releasing our first single, “Call Me Out” feat. Majesty Sanchez as a free download. If you like it, please donate a few dollars to our fundraiser. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Justice Committee in honor of Majesty. [Editor's note: our fundraiser is over but you can donate directly to Justice Committee at www.justicecommittee.org.].
We knew Majesty from organizing world, through his work with Justice Committee on behalf of the families of New Yorkers murdered by the police. But his brilliance as a rapper and values as a human being made us immediately gravitate toward his musical artistry. He was a dangerously skilled MC who brought humor, vulnerability, speedy wit and political rigor to his verses as a central force behind Legendary Cyphers and End of the Weak. From the moment we wrote it, we intended to ask Majesty to rap on this track. But when we first approached him, he was hesitant — he needed time to find the right creative connection to the song. He sat with the music for months and then suddenly he sent us the first perfect verse. We didn’t hear the second one until he came into record it. His words were magic — funny and personal and revealing — they transformed the song and took it to a place we never expected.
Majesty was a dear friend, a comrade in struggle and someone we were honored and lucky to work with. Emma wrote this about him after he died:
Daniel Majesty Sanchez (June 8, 1981–October 4, 2016)
Daniel Majesty Sanchez was a musician, activist and organizer that I worked with in the Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) Purim ensemble for the last 3 years. He was also a founder of Legendary Cyphers, an outdoor Hip Hop cypher that you may have spotted in Union Square. He was a founder of End of the Weak, the longest running weekly Hip Hop open mic in NYC. And he was a member and staff organizer of the Justice Committee – working on the South Bronx Cop Watch team and offering support to families of people who have been killed by the NYPD. He was a lifelong New Yorker, and died unexpectedly this Fall, soon after relocating to Las Vegas.
When dear friends die, one of the ways I've found to keep them alive is telling stories about them to each other, and introducing them to folks who did not get to know them. So here are some things about my experiences of Danny Majesty Sanchez:
He was even better at the long goodbye than I was. After ensemble or other times we hung out we'd stand in doorways with our coats on and shoot the shit for an hour or more. We debated and shared and learned from each other, dishing about Kendrick vs. Kanye, sex, sexuality and dating, the true nature of solidarity, old NYC... He made me laugh and helped me think more deeply about things we both cared about. At his memorial I heard many people mention the ways he could talk, getting into conversations in-person and on the phone that lasted for hours and hours without you noticing.
Majesty's booming voice and incredible command of an audience was a powerful tool he used in many contexts. In our Purim shpil, in his Hip Hop crews, hustling for cash by West 4thSt., in the occupied territories of Palestine, leading rallies and marches in the streets of NYC. Last year, when Justice Committee organized a sleep-out on the steps of the Department of Justice to put pressure around the Ramarley Graham case (a Black teenager who was killed by the NYPD in his own home in the Bronx,) Majesty brought out the whole Legendary Cyphers crew, who held down an epic cypher on the steps of the DOJ late into the night.
If you were friends with him he would always have your back. When people talk about how we need accomplices, not allies, I think of Majesty. He taught me a lot about how to live that. And he told me specifically that we need white people to be accomplices to People of Color. I only hope to be able to live up to his call, to use his example of love and care and risk and showing up and creativity as a guiding light.
Call Me Out feat. Majesty Sanchez
Lyrics by Emma Alabaster, Leo Ferguson and Daniel Sanchez
Produced by Leo Ferguson
© 2016 Emma Alabaster & Leo Ferguson. All rights reserved.