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August 29, 2013 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-08-29

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Defeat The Label

Matisyahu to perform at anti-bullying fundraiser Sept. 2 in Pontiac.

Ronelle Grier
Contributing Writer


opular reggae and alternative
rock musician Matisyahu will
perform Sept. 2 at a "Back to
School Palooza" presented by the anti-
bullying organization Defeat the Label.
The fundraising concert, co-sponsored
by the Anti-Defamation League, Temple
Israel and Temple Shir Shalom, will take
place at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac.
Matthew Paul Miller, the given name
of the Pennsylvania-born performer
who goes by Matisyahu (his stage and
Hebrew name), is a strong supporter of
anti-bullying efforts. After contacting
Defeat the Label, he was happy when
his current tour schedule allowed the
opportunity to perform in support of
such a worthwhile cause.
"We were thrilled to hear from him,"
said Jeff Sakwa, local businessman and
founder of Defeat the Label. "It's a great

way to celebrate the end of summer and
start the school year off on a positive
Matisyahu learned about Defeat the
Label during a campaign revolving
around his song, "Live Like a Warrior:'
which he wrote with Jack Knight about
a bullying experience involving Knight's
"It's become one of my favorite songs
to perform, and the lyrics resonate with
me deeply," Matisyahu said. "The work
they [Defeat the Label] do is crucial
for students these days, and it's great to
be playing a show for an organization
looking to support the individual and
remove itself from labels that do little to
respect unique talents:'
Matisyahu knows a thing or two about
labels, having been called the "Chasidic
reggae superstar:' and later the "for-
mer Chasidic singer" after announcing
he was no longer practicing Chasidic

"And besides the labeling of who I am,
the music industry is oddly obsessed
with labeling the 'kind' of music people


Stressing Friendship
While admitting he is not an expert on
how to prevent bullying, he believes
developing strong friendships can make
it easier to navigate the challenging
teenage years.
"Pirkei Avot [Ethics of the Fathers]
gives the great advice of saying, 'acquire
for yourself a friend. If you've got a
few good friends who really love and
support you, let you grow and change
as you need to, and have your back ...
hopefully that helps:' he said.
The Crofoot Ballroom is located at 1
S. Saginaw in Pontiac. Doors open at 5
p.m.; the concert will start at 7 p.m.
As a father of three boys, I'm con-
scious of today's issues with bullying,
and I want my sons to be able to explore
the way they connect to the world with-
out being pressured or bullied away
from their talents," Matisyahu said. "I'm
glad there are organizations like Defeat
the Label to support the individual war-
rior in all of us."
Tickets are available through the
ADL at (248) 353-7553 or by email at
jwine@adl.org, or through Defeat the
Label (www.defeatthelabel.com ), or
the Crofoot Ballroom (www.thecrofoot.
com ). VIP tickets, which include spe-
cial seating and a meet-and-greet with
Matisyahu, are $100; general admission
is $28.50 in advance and $30 at the



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play," he said. "Is it reggae? Would you
call it more rock or hip-hop? ... I think
people have a desire to put things in
boxes that make it easy to understand
who they are talking to or what they are
going to listen to:'




10 August 29 • 2013

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