Vans, the original action sports footwear and apparel brand, is teaming up with Record Store Day to release two albums, Songs for You, Vols. 1 & 2, to spotlight and support Black-owned record stores. The limited-edition vinyl releases will be available to purchase at independent record stores on Record Store Day 2021.
As a salute to the community power of Black-owned businesses, Vans and Record Store Day will reinvest proceeds from the albums into Black-owned record stores across the United States.
Nineteen tracks from prolific Black artists are featured across the two compilations, including previously unreleased music by Roberta Flack, whose uplifting rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of Gaye’s groundbreaking album and song.
According to Flack, a six-time Grammy Award-winning female trailblazer and one of the music industry’s most iconic R&B artists, the Black-owned record store experience is as important and influential as ever: “Black-owned record stores have historically served as places where our community has gathered to learn, listen and celebrate. They have been places of political activism, where we find our voices through the music we hear. Marvin’s song that I include in this project is sadly as relevant today as it was when it was released 50 years ago.”
Grammy Award-winning artist Common also contributes a track to honor the influence of Black-owned record stores on his life. “I owe so much to record stores and specifically Black-owned record stores,” Common recently told Variety. “It’s so beautiful to know that there’s record stores that existed in the ‘60s that are still alive and people are taking that business to those record stores and supporting vinyl,” he said. “And it’s so incredible to think about a record store opening because that means younger generations are participating.”
“Black-owned record stores have always represented something more than just a place to buy music in their communities. These businesses have been hubs for social and political activism, self-expression, culture and belonging,” said Michael Kurtz, co-founder of Record Store Day. “They are at the heart and soul of the music industry and the impact they have had on their communities to push for important social and political progress is immeasurable.”
Both volumes of Songs for You feature artwork from award-winning artist Aamba Chavis, an emerging young voice in Black visual arts. Other young changemakers lending their voices to the album include Grammy-nominated Tank and the Bangas from New Orleans. “As an artist, it's empowering to be a part of such an amazing moment in history with people stepping up and speaking up,” said the band’s Tarriona “Tank” Ball. “This particular Record Store Day release will shine a much-needed light on the Black-owned businesses that inspire artists like us. We salute Black-owned record stores for their role in pushing music and culture forward.”
The collaboration between Vans and Record Store Day also includes the upcoming launch of Vans’ “Open Doors” campaign which tells the stories of Black-owned record stores across the United States.
For more information about Record Store Day, please visit www.recordstoreday.com