Even as large gatherings and shows remain prohibited during the COVID-19 pandemic, HipStory keeps hustling on behalf of Boston artistry and positive societal change.
The collective of artists has organized a new virtual series of shows to benefit various organizations and continue highlighting Boston-based musical talent. Billed as the “virtual offering of our original HSHP (HipStory House Party) experience,” the series broadens the impact of these shows, while also donating proceeds to national justice-based organizations and local non-profits.
The first digital show is this Saturday (June 13) from 7 to 9 p.m. and will raise money for the Massachusetts Bail Fund, featuring sets from Anjimile (pictured), Najee Janey, and DJ Why Sham. Tickets are available on a pay-what-you-can basis via Eventbrite, or HipStory’s Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal accounts, listed below.
Both a sponsorship from Newbury Comics and a City of Boston Transformative Public Art Grant helped to launch the first digital edition of the series.
According to Muñeca Diaz, HipStory booking and outreach manager, supporting the Massachusetts Bail Fund felt essential, especially because the high bails set are often far more than most people can afford. As a result, pretrial detainees consist of over 70 percent of the U.S. jail population. Put simply, Diaz says “being broke shouldn’t be a crime.”
“Right now, there are remarkably brave people out there protesting the terrible treatment of Black people by law enforcement,” Diaz tells Vanyaland. “They’re risking exposure to COVID, potentialbacklash from police, and even death. A lot of protestors, many of whom Black and Brown themselves, have been arrested and are stuck in jail solely based on the fact that they can’t afford their bail. Sometimes people spend months in jail over a bail.”
Diaz also explained how race plays into bail amounts, and that on a national scale, Black and Hispanic men often must pay significantly more for their bail amounts than white men — specifically, 35 and 19 percent more.
“We specifically chose the Mass Bail Fund because this is our home and we want to support our community,” she adds. “People deserve to be home with their families while awaiting trail, not forced in a jail cell being mistreated. The Mass Bail Fund is doing phenomenal work and we want to support them in that. We want to help uplift their cause.”
Even after the COVID-19 restrictions are removed and “real life” shows can take place again, Diaz shares that the digital series will continue, largely to offer an accessible way for people to partake in live music. Looking ahead, HipStory also hopes to book acts from other parts of the country, in addition to Boston-based musicians (“That’s the beauty of internet,” she remarks).
“Accessibility is essential — it’s why we’ve always made our tickets ‘PayWhatUCan,’” she notes. “This series being digital allows even more folks to experience incredibly talented artists than before. Things like not being able to afford to take a day off, struggling to find childcare, or anything else that would normally affect an in-person event kinda disappear. Accessibility in the digital realm are both things that fall directly in line with our mission statement and what we believe at HipStory.”
Check out all the details via the flyer below, or on Eventbrite here.