The artist honoured the 36 people who lost their lives during DIY warehouse party with a performance of ‘Peaceable Kingdom’
Smith was performing in New York City on Monday (December 5) for Democracy Now!’s 20th anniversary. “Peaceable Kingdom” originally appeared on her 2004 album Trampin’ and was written for Rachel Corrie, an activist who died on a peacekeeping mission in Gaza. After paying tribute to those fighting for change in the world, Smith added that “we also would like to remember all the young people who lost their lives in the Oakland fire. And when you look at the pictures of them, all of them brimming with such hope, we need our young people. We pin our faith on them. They are going to make the most revolutionary changes in human history. They will continue to build peace movements, to protect our environment. And so we sing this little song for them.” Following the performance, Smith was joined on-stage by REM’s Michael Stipe for a rendition of “People Have the Power”.
The Oakland warehouse fire occurred at Ghost Ship, a DIY warehouse space that served the city’s underground music and arts community. At the time, the venue was hosting a party organised by house label 100% Silk. The fire claimed the lives of numerous musicians and partygoers, many of them from the LGBTQ+ community. Among those who lost their lives were Cherushii (Chelsea Faith) and Nackt (Johnny Igaz), both artists from the label, as well as electronic musician Joey Casio (Joseph Matlock) and Cash Askew of Them Are Us Too. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
Watch Smith’s performance above.