Chelsea Manning Benefit Features Graham Nash, Michael Stipe

As someone following the Chelsea Manning saga with a sympathetic eye, I was delighted to find out that there’s a benefit compilation album for the transgendered cyber-fixture, to help her transition from life in prison to the outside.

And it features Jello Biafra! Well of course it does.

The album, which has now raised more than $10,000 for Manning, was organized by transgender activist and singer/songwriter Evan Greer, who has been one of her close friends and supporters over the last several years of her imprisonment.

It features a wide range of artists, including Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young), Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Against Me!, Tom Morello (Prophets of Rage, Rage Against the Machine), Talib Kweli, Downtown Boys, Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls), Priests, Anti-Flag, Kimya Dawson, Ted Leo (who contributed an unreleased track), Mirah (contributing an unreleased track), B. Dolan, Sammus (featuring Jean Grae), Tommie Sunshine, The Kominas, Screaming Females (who contributed an unreleased track), Chris Farren (Fake Problems), Kevin Devine, and Bonfire Madigan (featuring Laura MacFarlane of Sleater-Kinney)—and the album has support from Michael Stipe from REM.

Graham Nash wrote in the description for his contribution: “Chelsea Manning is one of my heroes. Anyone that has the courage to disturb the ‘status quo’, to ‘rock the boat’ as she did is very brave and what she did was show some truth to the American people about what the government was doing in our name. God Bless her.”

Tom Morello, he of the “pocket full of shells,” wrote: "Chelsea, thank you for your bravery. You're a true American hero and an inspiration. Welcome home. I hope we get to meet one day. Relax, enjoy time with friends and family and then please run for President.’

New tracks have been added from the aforementioned Jello Biafra, former Dead Kennedys frontman, Denver hip-hop outfit Flobots (of "Handlebars" fame), and Algiers, along with several up and coming trans and queer artists.

“The world needs more people like Chelsea Manning. It has been an honor to fight for her and a privilege to get to know her. I wanted to do something to make sure she has the support she needs now that she is being released,” said Greer. “Chelsea also loves music, and hasn’t had much access to it in prison. It’s so amazing that she is being released and can fully share herself with the world.”

It’s nice to see the music community coming together to help someone in need. You can download the album here

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