As many of our social media timelines remind us daily, the global pandemic is far from over, and if there’s anyone who feels that reality on a daily basis, it’s the business owners who are fighting to keep their doors open. Bars, clubs, and music venues have been heavily impacted during the past six months and it’s not just our favorite cocktail we’ll miss should these spots shut down. These businesses provide a space for us to connect and bond over common interests and Crown Royal is doing its part to make sure these places are still around when we’re able to visit them again post-COVID.
As part of a national relief campaign, Crown Royal teamed up with Ari Lennox and Anthony Ramos to recreate Sly and the Family Stone’s 1973 song “If You Want Me to Stay.” For every stream of the track, the Canadian Whisky brand will donate $1 (up to $500,000) to small business developer the Mainstreet Alliance to help support and save bars, stages, and clubs in danger of closing.
“With the current state of the world being unpredictable, this has been a nice light to know that [Crown Royal] is fighting to keep some of our favorite venues around,” Ari told MadameNoire. “It’s really nice that we’ll have something to look forward to when things change and outside opens.”
In addition to Crown Royal’s donation, both she and Anthony will donate their royalties from the song to the cause. In solidarity, both of their record labels –Dreamville/Interscope and Republic Records — will match each artists’ royalties with a donation to Main Street Alliance for the next year.
The point of the cover song is to help people “understand the greatness of these venues and all the legendary phenomenon that came through those venues and inspired us all, Ari said, stressing, “It’s important, therapeutically, for these venues to stay.”
Unlike many celebrity brand partnerships that start and end with a campaign, Ari and Crown Royal go way back, the D.C. native shared. “Crown Royal literally changed my life. I’ve been excited about Crown Royal ever since Jill Scott put me on with her phenomenal song ‘Crown Royal on Ice‘. I fell in love.”
The 29-year-old even made a reference to the liquor in her own song “Night Drive” on her debut EP “Pho.” “Really that’s all I drink,” Ari said. “Crown Royal Peach is my s-h-i-t. I love it, especially when it’s cold –you don’t need a mixer, a chaser, anything.”
Just hearing Ari describe her favorite beverage made me long for the days when I can meet up with my friends and listen to live music over a nice cocktail. Hopefully, thanks to this cause, that day will come sooner rather than later.
“I feel like people, right now, we really need each other. It’s been too much isolation,” the singer said. “I think it’s time for people to be together so I’m excited for the future.”