Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Rhiannon Giddens is collaborating with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project on a fundraising initiative and a powerful music video for her song “Another Wasted Life.” The music video was released on the 10th annual Wrongful Conviction Day. It aims to raise awareness for the stories and voices of those who have experienced the injustices of the criminal legal system.
“Another Wasted Life” is featured on You’re the One, released in August via Nonesuch Records. Giddens recently filmed the video in Philadelphia with the 22 formerly incarcerated people, who collectively spent more than 500 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. It features their names and the number of years that each spent wrongly incarcerated. The video was directed by Daniel Madoff. Inspired by the tragic story of Kalief Browder, a young man wrongfully incarcerated at New York City’s Rikers Island for three years, where he was subjected to nearly two years of solitary confinement, Giddens wrote “Another Wasted Life” as a reminder of the human toll exacted by wrongful convictions and the importance of prison reform.
Giddens and the Pennsylvania Innocence Project have also launched a fundraising initiative to support the legal and reentry services provided by innocence organizations. In addition to placing a fundraising link on the video, Giddens has fundraised for local innocence organizations throughout her tour. She partnered with a wrongfully incarcerated artist named Spel to create limited-edition merchandise items, with all proceeds going to support each local organization. Spel’s case was one of the first to be picked up by Pennsylvania Innocence Project at its inception in 2009 and is still open almost 15 years later.
She has also invited innocence organizations across the country to set up information tables at shows, is highlighting their work on stage, and has dedicated all tips at the merchandise table to them.“We are proud to have Rhiannon Giddens standing with us this Wrongful Conviction Day in support of innocence work. We are grateful for her efforts to lift up the voices of our clients – those who have been exonerated and those who are still fighting for freedom – and to raise support to keep our work going,” says Meredith Rapkin, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.