Michael Franti: On Government Surveillance and the Role of Artists in a Time of War

May 16, 2003

The acclaimed Bay Area singer joins us in the studio for an interview and to perform with members of Spearhead.

For nearly a decade, hip hop artist and activist Michael Franti has been a leading progressive voice in music. He speaks out against sexual violence, encourages his community to prevent the spread of HIV, and sings about the hypocrisy of the US government.

Franti grew out of the Bay Area music and political scene in the early 1990’s.

In 1986 he founded the duo the Beatnigs, paving the way for his next musical endeavor, the Disposable Heroes of HipHoprisy. His most recent musical project is the musical collective Spearhead, began in 1994.

Franti’s distinctive style is infused with hip hop, soul and jazz influences and driven by his eloquent political lyrics. He has always used music to push social boundaries.

When we last spoke to Michael in March, he had just learned that members of his group Spearhead were under surveillance by the U.S. government.

Today he joins us in the studio to talk about the governmental surveillance and the role of artists in a time of war.

  • Michael Franti, musician and activist, performing acoustically in our Firehouse Studios with members of his group Spearhead.