D-Up (Here’s to Diversity) – Freeworld with a Perfectly Timed Video

Diversity. One of the foremost qualities in nature that defines our planet. Without it, all flowers would smell the same, every creature would look the same, and all people would be the same. Life would not only be incredibly boring, but virtually impossible without the multitude of diverse beings populating our world. The endless variety of colors, thoughts, beliefs,
perceptions, styles, desires, hopes, and dreams just within humanity alone is astounding.

It was this reality that inspired Richard Cushing, leader of the Memphis-based musical ensemble, FreeWorld, to envision the re-recording of their song, “D-Up (Here’s to Diversity)” in the fall of 2020.

The song (with lyrics written by David Skypeck) and accompanying video (produced by Justin Jaggers), came bursting forth with new life through the amazing production talents of Niko Lyras, along with the instrumental & vocal contributions of over three dozen established entertainers, talented newcomers, and legacy artists (see below), who all came together and donated their time and talents to create a work of art that celebrates and exemplifies the musical, cultural, emotional, intellectual, and Spiritual unity and diversity inherent in our city and the world beyond.

This project was not conceived to raise money for any cause. It was brought to fruition to raise awareness of our deep need as a people to appreciate the ever-expanding palate of our diverse reality here on planet Earth, to celebrate our racial and cultural differences, and to help us all embrace the true worth of our uniqueness and individuality.

As the lyrics of the song say, ”There is power in our differences / So maybe we can use it to further our existences / With Communication, Respect, and Harmony / Here’s to Diversity (D-UP!)”

VOCALISTS (in order of first vocal appearance):
Al Kapone
Walter White
Jerome Chism
Hope Clayburn
Wendy Moten
Adam Levin
Katrina Anderson
Chris Johnson
Reba Russell
Marcella Simien
Todd Poole
Richard Cushing
Larry Springfield
Lexi Roberson
Chris Stephenson
Marcela Pinilla
Tierinii Jackson Naftaly
Joyce Cobb
Prentice Wulff-Woesten
Harold Thomas & Robert Wrightsil (The Masqueraders)
Terrance Simien
Earl “The Pearl” Banks

Richard Cushing – Bass
George Lawrence – Drums
Andy Tate – Guitars
Niko Lyras – Guitars
Luther Dickinson – Slide Guitar
Ori Naftaly – Guitar
Chris Stephenson – Hammond Organ
Blind Mississippi Morris – Harmonica
Alice Hasen – Violin

Peter Climie – Baritone Saxophone (+ Arrangement)
Lannie McMillan – Tenor Saxophone
Hope Clayburn – Alto Saxophone
John Gutierrez – Trumpet
Paul McKinney – Trumpet
Freedman Steorts – Trombone

Niko Lyras – Producer; Recording & Mixing Engineer
Cotton Row Studio, Memphis, TN.
Brad Blackwood – Mastering Engineer
Euphonic Masters, Memphis, TN.
Justin Jaggers – Video Production
Additional video provided by Mark Cianciolo
Laura Haynes – American Sign Language
Executive Producer – Richard Cushing
Recorded September – December, 2020.

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