With so much happening in the world and especially with the COVID-19 pandemic so unrelenting, a sense of heaviness has covered many of our spirits.
Here in Trinidad and Tobago, in addition to COVID-19, economic woes surrounding fluctuating oil prices are a major concern for the working class.
After making the same observations of despondency, Ryan ‘DJ Private Ryan’ Alexander, Freetown Collective and Caribbean Ideas Synapse’s Co-Founder and CEO, Brevard Nelson decided to team up to help the world to feel the love all through the month of May.
“What we intend to accomplish with this Month of Love is to showcase the different ways that people love; love of self, love of charity, love of family, love of friends. Mother’s Day is coming up, Soca Brainwash is going to be an online charity drive which is open to the world. Freetown Thursdays will continue with their positives messages. These will lead up to the Day of Love which is where we’ll encourage the whole world to send us videos and pictures showing the different ways that they express their love,” Alexander explained.
The Feel the Love Campaign, an extension of Alexander and Freetown’s collaborative song for Carnival 2020, is set to lift spirits in T&T in more ways than one. Freetown lead vocalist, Muhammad Muwakil says it’s time to stop seeing COVID-19 as only a bad thing. He believes it’s given the world the opportunity to show what its people are really made of.
“There’s a lot of healing that I think will take place in this time and I hope the song and the movement that we’re trying to build here now, could be a part of facilitating a lot of that healing,” he said.
Freetown Collective consists of Muwakil and five other artistes, he says the group’s mantra has always been to make music that meant more than three minutes of pleasure.
“You don’t just wake up one day and write a song like this because you feel like you need a positive song in your set,” he said.
The campaign intends to ignite a spirit of love within those who participate. They’re then encouraged to spread that love in simple ways. Nelson says the important thing is to ensure that no one feels left out.
“We’re providing a facility through which people can give back and assist. There are a lot of people who are less fortunate, they’re displaced or they’ve lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, the oil prices and other macro-economic factors,” he said.
The campaign first challenges participants to record themselves singing along to the Carnival favourite. These video clips will then be inserted into the song’s official music video, immortalizing the spirit of the song and those who’ve connected with it so far. Alexander says the group wants to spread their positive message beyond T&T, using his brand and international reach, he hopes it can have a positive effect on as many people as possible.
“When I think about Feel The Love, it’s more than just a song to me. I think it speaks to a course of human spirit and especially with the times that we’re in, knowing that there are people that are going through some hardships based on their circumstances. People have lost their jobs, people are hungry,” he said.
After that, it’s time for action. The gentlemen are calling on the wider public to find ways of spreading love to each other, all while still observing and adhering to the rules of social distancing.
They collectively believe that despite the current circumstances, the private sector and citizens will band together to make sure we all feel the love.
“We’ve had quite a number of sponsors come on board and say, ‘Yes, this is what we need, we want to support, we want to come on board,’ so whether it’s in the form of facilitating the packages and hampers for some of the less fortunate, to even assisting with logistics, people have really willingly come on board to support,” Nelson said.
Everything raised by the group’s efforts will go to non-governmental and non-profit organisations who will assist in determining the families in need of support so that distribution can begin.
See our full interview with the team below.