Lauren Hurlock

Native Son, the collaborative project between Benny Starr and Rodrick Cliche, released their concert film Restoration on Nov. 30.

The two artists decided to collaborate on the film that dives into the history of agrarian stories and land ownership.

In a clip, Martin Luther King Jr. is seen discussing the injustice of land grants. He talks about the United States Department of Agriculture refraining from giving land to the descendants of enslaved Africans and indigenous people, while giving land to white immigrants. 

Their goal is to bring awareness to the continuing fight for restorative land justice, something they have been doing by promoting mutual aid fund Acres of Ancestry.

In addition to the film, the two are working with the “The Black Farmer’s Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign.” This campaign focus on educating its audience and legally advocating for the correction of the Pigford v. Glickman class-action discrimination lawsuit injustices. The lawsuit, filed in 1999, alleged that the USDA regularly discriminated against Black farmers in their allocation of loans and assistance between 1981 and 1996.

Intertwined with narratives and education information, Starr and Cliche perform live music including their song “The Land,” which discusses land injustice. 

The song serves as the project’s anthem and a “love offering” in hopes of protecting the 1.5 million acres of black farmlands from USDA dispossession. Donations for Acres of Ancestry and the Black Agrarian Fund can be made online.