We spoke to Rachel Mason, an Ambassador here at Babbasa, about her new single, Black Lives Matter, and the importance of supporting young Black people.
Written by Rachel Mason, 24th November, 2020.
I’m a multi award winning musician, vocal teacher, mentor, bestselling author and run my own artist management company and record label. I have supported Babbasa since 2011 when my show choir performed in a fundraiser for them. Their mission and ethos is so close to my heart as mentoring and supporting young people is absolutely vital, especially now during the pandemic.
As soon as I heard about Babbasa’s Ambassador programme I got in touch with Poku and asked to be a part of it. I want to do something practical to help, just donating money didn’t feel enough anymore. I feel incredibly fortunate to have such a wonderful career and would love to pass on advice and support young people.
Following the death of George Floyd and the Colston statue being torn down in Bristol I realised that staying silent was no longer okay. I needed to do something. I’ve always disliked the adoration of Edward Colston in this city as we know so much about his links with slavery. It’s a shame the statue wasn’t removed long ago but I must admit I did cheer when I saw footage of the people of Bristol throwing it into the harbour.
I had worked with Aaron Lee Lambert, an amazing songwriter and cast member of Hamilton on a television show called Sing: Ultimate A Cappella. I contacted him to see if he’d like to collaborate on a song. It felt like the perfect opportunity for us to reconnect during lockdown, respond to the BLM protests happening worldwide, and support charities that were close to our hearts. Over the months that followed, Aaron and I slowly pieced together what would become “Make A Start”.
We’d like to use the song as an opportunity to highlight two amazing charities. Babbasa is a Bristol-based social enterprise offering support services for the benefit of young people from less advantaged communities. The Black Ticket Project is an award-winning bridge organisation fostering cultural access points for Black young people. All proceeds from “Make A Start” will be split evenly between Babbasa and The Black Ticket Project. Any additional support you can throw these charities’ way would be greatly appreciated!
Aaron’s dearest friends and fellow Hamilton cast members Sharon Rose and Waylon Jacobs so graciously agreed to sing backing vocals. Aaron, Waylon and Sharon are three of the most gifted performers you’ll ever hear and are so passionate and vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement. The fact that they’re original cast members in the West End production of Hamilton, which is widely known as the most racially inclusive show ever created added another facet to the power of this song.
For people of Sharon and Waylon’s calibre to give their time and talents for free to this project means so much to Aaron and me. Sharon can currently be seen in the very popular Netflix film Jingle Jangle which was produced by Grammy winner John Legend. Waylon starred in a stunning production of The Last 5 Years at The Minack theatre in September which is one of the few theatrical productions to take place during lockdown and gave hope to so many who are desperately missing live theatre.
Art in all forms has always been created to communicate important messages and to inspire people to act and think.
Every young person should have access to arts and culture, and to the benefits that access brings. The arts are a positive force in society: people feel more confident in their ability to create, challenge and explore, to be part of society, and to make change happen. The arts empower us. They contribute to the development of all aspects of a young person’s potential and personality: studying the arts fosters creativity, innovation, empathy, and resilience. The arts enrich young lives, making them happier and healthier.
Access to the arts is access to our national life, and it is a social justice issue.
I hope that Babbasa continue to positivity impact the lives of young people across Bristol, enabling them to have opportunities and aspire to great things in their lives.
Make A Start drops to musical platforms on Friday 27th November 2020.
You can find out more about Rachel and her work on: