Britton & The Sting Drop Art Activism Single ‘Holdin’ On’

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Tony Award winner Britton Smith ,who leads the funk liberation band Britton & The Sting, the talented pack of musicians who aim to spread the gospel of authenticity and inclusion as the bridge to radical liberation, just dropped their new single “Holdin’ On.”

It  is their latest entry and an extension of Britton’s “art activism.” 

Smith is the President and one of the founders of the Broadway Advocacy Coalition.

The organization was created by him, Jacquelyn Bell, Amber Iman, Cameron J. Ross, Adrienne Warren, and Christian Dante White as a response to racism and police brutality following the murder of Philando Castile in 2016. 

Fast-forward to today and the organization’s cause has earned Smith a special Tony Award and fuels much of the messaging behind the band’s music.

 

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Britton identifies as a Black, gay mega pastor, set on this earth to dismantle the systems and ideas of oppression that keep us from living our most authentic lives, and Holdin On is a song written during the pandemic that celebrates our collective strength. 

 

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#GAYNRD spoke to Smith about a couple of issues close to his heart.

Who gets to talk about holiness? Everyone gets to talk about holiness because everyone is inherently carrying holiness. there’s an OLD belief that holiness is rooted within those closest to “living right by the word of God” but I know now after years of searching that ALL of ME, my queerness, my anger, my vision for the world and need for casual choking during sex is apart of my fullness, therefore deserves to be seen, loved and seen as holy. When we removed parts of ourself to “perform” holiness for others, we run the risk of living in shame and outside of our true calling.

How does religion keep the queer community from being holy enough to talk about God’s work?
Religion, specifically Christianity has a limited view in what it can ALLOW because it’s built on a set of practices that are meant to keep us all in line. If you’re queer and waiting on religion to validate your limitlessness I offer you this… You are GOD. Tap into the realization of what that really means and know that it’s all of our responsibilities to define what that means for our selves, uniquely. There will be many spaces within the frames of spirituality that will ask you to conform to their definition of holiness, but know that the GOD in you is uncomfortable.

Talking to NPR last September, about their single “Blackstronauts,” Smith sings of his coming out story and his relationship with his mother. “I grew up gay, Black, in the South and in the church,” he says. “They teach you in the church in the South to be so proud of your Blackness in American history. … However, there was this other thing, a part of me that was not treated with that same type of affirmation and pride.”

Smith says he wrote “Blackstroanuts,” at his altar in his home in Harlem; he says he does his best writing there. “I have books and candles … I often pray in the morning there, and I sing and I shake my body. I stretch, I release and then things come out that are the truth,” Smith says. “I find such clarity and such authenticity and such joy and such pain; the fullness of humanity by myself at my altar at the house.”

 

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Apart from performing with Britton & The Sting, Smith has appeared on Broadway in the show Be More Chill and co-founded an anti-racism nonprofit called the Broadway Advocacy Coalition. Smith says the organization is “geared toward dismantling the systems of racism within and outside the industry,” as well as broader issues like mass incarceration and police brutality. Storytelling through art is a motivation and a throughline in Smith’s life, especially right now.

“In this moment we have been positioned to really share the truth,” he says. “People are listening in a way that I’m excited about.”

Listen to Holdin On HERE.
It is available on all streaming platforms.