HARLEM, NYC - When English songwriter Nick Hampson of the band Northeast Corridor learned how Harlem parents were uniting to protest homophobic hate speech posted on the ATLAH Missionary Church sign on Lenox Avenue, he knew he must do something. Within hours, he wrote the song "Where You're Sleeping Tonight," in honor of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth, many of who are forced from their homes due to religious-based rejection.
But the 20 year-old Hampson didn't stop there. The Oxford University musicology major teamed up with the youth artists of Smash Street Boys, an American safehouse art program that helps sexually abused boys recover via art, filmmaking, photography and storytelling work. He also decided that proceeds from the sale of "Where You're Sleeping Tonight" will be donated to the Ali Forney Center, a Harlem-based nonprofit that helps homeless LGBTQ youth.
"What Nick and his band Northeast Corridor have done is very significant," said one Smash Street student artist. "They have shown us that someone, complete strangers, are willing to do more than just empathize. That is remarkable and we salute Northeast Corridor for getting involved to raise more shelter beds and services for kids in Harlem."
After hearing "Where You're Sleeping tonight," the student artists of Smash Street created a full, professional music video, with the youngest student artist being 12 years old. "Everyone [at Smash Street] played a role," said another student who remains anonymous to protect his identity. "We created the imagery and graphics, we did the editing and transferred it to a format in which it can be shown at 'No Time for Hate'."
"No Time for Hate" is the Tuesday, May 20th benefit night staged by the Harlem parents who decided that instead of directly protesting ATLAH Missionary Church and its hate speech, they would raise money for affected LGBTQ youth instead. All proceeds from "No Time for Hate" go to the Ali Forney Center. The "Where You're Sleeping Tonight" video will have its world premiere at "No Time For Hate."
As Hampson was inspired by the video response, he hopes others will be, too. "The video had me in tears," said Hampson. "There is something so unmistakably real about it. It's a reality we all know exists, but few ever actually see it. It's not that people always choose to ignore it; many are just not ready to face it. Hopefully now they might find the courage."
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