Combining his love for music, fashion, activism and artistry, Teddy Jackson is laying the groundwork for a career that disregards the status quo. Having studied music production in London, Teddy quickly became aware of the lack of diversity within the music industry and has since made it his goal to increase visibility and amplify queer voices within the music industry.
Inspired by artists like David Bowie, Rihanna, MIA, Frank Ocean and FKA Twigs, to name a few, Teddy refuses to be categorised by genre. His latest single “Pull Up” aggressively calls to action all within and outside of the Black and LGBTQ+ communities to come together and combat injustices experienced by and inflicted upon these communities.
‘Pull Up’ is the second track released by artist and producer, Teddy Jackson.
Assertive and to the point, the title itself directly references Rihanna’s powerful NAACP speech in February 2020, in which she tells people of other races to “pull up” for black issues.
The track clocks in at just over a minute and packs a powerful punch. There is no shortage of energy, passion or statement here.
Teddy calls out the lack of media coverage for LGBTQ+ issues, along with people posting support for issues online but not taking any positive action outside of social media. Drawing
influence from the punk movement of the 70s, ‘Pull Up’ works to sonically emulate the anger, hurt, pain and frustration that minorities experience on a continual basis.
The message of the track could not be clearer, ‘Pull Up’ and actively work towards dismantling oppressive systems or you are the problem.
In reference to the track, Teddy says, “We can only combat and dismantle these oppressive systems if we are united, which is what the track is about, it is a call to action.”
“People who are silent are complicit, people who are complicit support the structural oppression plaguing this society. They are supporting racism. They are supporting homophobia. They are supporting transphobia. They are supporting xenophobia. They are the oppressor. They are t he problem and the only way to prove you’re not, is to really PULL UP and come through”.
See our interview with Teddy below;
Q: Was this track and video a long time in the making project or is it something you wanted to address in the moment?
A: The initial idea for the track and video came to me about a month ago when I became aware Hungary had voted to end the legal recognition of trans people. The blatant attack on a part of the LGBT community enraged me as much as the lack of support the trans community was receiving politically, from the press, and the rest of the LGBT community on this issue. OUR community was being attacked and it felt like most people didn’t care because it didn’t effect them personally. As I was working on the track, protests began erupting across the states and globally in reaction to the murder of George Floyd. This added another level of meaning to the track. Witnessing the lack of support from people outside of the black community made me want to propel the making of this track. I wanted to help solidify the fact that the fight for equality can only be achieved if we work together as a united front. A message that needs to be heard NOW more than ever.
Q: You’ve chosen to release it in this time, are you concerned at all that it could be construed as virtue signalling?
A: Following on from my answer above, I recognised the urgency of the issue, I recognised the need to keep the momentum going and I wanted to do what I could to help continue to motivate people to continue fighting for change. It can be tiring but seeing the changes that have already begun to come through has shown that the tides are beginning to turn so it is so important to keep pushing forward, to be vocal, and active in this.
I moved to London from New Zealand when I was 19, when I arrived I didn’t know anyone. I gradually started to build a friendship circle which consisted of many BAME people. A lot of these people have acted as my family in London for my entire adult life and have helped me grow and develop into the person I am today. I wanted to channel my creative energy into something that could help inspire, motivate, support them as well as spread a message on the importance of unity.
Q: How did you go about getting the cast together for this music video?
A: I didn’t have a budget for the project, so everyone involved in the video volunteered their support. They are mostly friends of mine and are representative of the diverse range of people that have acted as my family and support network throughout my adult life. Everyone was excited to use their creativity, ferocity, and attitude to show their support and solidarity for the BLM movement and the LGBTQ+ community.