Story By Liz Berlin | Photographs from Renee Rosensteel, Erica Dilcer | Curated by Christine McMahon Tumpson
“The record, Social Justice Disco, has more than 60 artists on it, jazz, pop, indigenous, hip hop and gospel artists all working together to stand for equity and justice through music.” – Phat Man Dee
When Liz Berlin takes the stage, she grabs the mic and her powerful voice rings out, giving new meaning to the phrase “bona fide rock star!” In addition to being one of Pittsburgh’s favorite vocalists and producers, founding member of triple-platinum selling Pittsburgh band Rusted Root, and owner-operator of both Mr. Smalls Theater, which houses three separate music venues, and Mr. Small’s Recording and Mastering Studio in the Northside, she also runs a music program for foster youth with Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services called “We Rock Workshop” through her non-profit, Creative.Life.Support.
You may remember we did a wonderful interview with jazz song stylist and music educator, Phat Man Dee, last April in 2017. She had just been voted “Best Local Jazz Act” in the Pittsburgh City Paper’s readers’ poll and we dubbed this delightful jazz sensation a “ray of sparkles”! We are thrilled to give you the scoop on these two fabulous power divas’ newest collaboration “Social Justice Disco: Songs to Fight Fascists By!”
Throughout their careers, both Liz and Man Dee have been relentless in their missions to shine the light of love, light, truth, and justice through music. While this new project “Social Justice Disco” may have started as an April Fool’s Day prank back in 2016, these serious musicians consider the fight for social justice and equity no laughing matter. On April 1st of 2016, Man Dee tagged Liz in a Facebook post about their “new record” “Social Justice Disco”. The post became somewhat viral and when Liz awoke and checked her feed, she had no idea what Man Dee was talking about. But upon realizing it was an April Fool’s joke, the seed was planted and it became apparent that this must be a reality. Since then the concept has blossomed into a phenomenal album, 13 songs of both original and disco classics, such as “I Will Survive”, “#BigBrotherIsTrending”, and “Black Lives Matter” sung to the tune of Stayin Alive.
With a mix of Liz Berlin’s pop musicians and Phat Man Dee’s jazz band members and the combined power of 60 committed Pittsburgh artists, this undertaking has become a movement with a sound that cannot be denied! Guest artists featured on this record include Pastor Deryck Tines and The Lemington Gospel Choir, poets Christina Springer and Leslie Ezra Smith, rappers Big Jus and HollyHood, Justin Sane of Anti-Flag, Reggie Watkins and the Steeltown Horns, Johnny Creed Coe and family, and Miguel Sague Jr. There will be disco dancers and drag queens and all together they shall make a righteous noise for freedom and justice for all!
Liz Berlin & Phat Man Dee Unite in the Spirit of Justice (and Disco)!
Tickets are available now at www.mrsmalls.com.
You won’t want to miss this magical CD release party!
July 8, 2018 • Mr. Smalls Theatre • Doors at 6 PM, show at 7 PM, All ages
Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
The revolution may not be televised but it will have a solid groove (and a whole lot of sparkles)!