Advocacy, authorship and economic justice: GANGGANG’s plans for 2024

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Mali and Alan Bacon, co-founders of cultural development firm GANGGANG announced plans for 2024, including I Made Rock ‘N Roll Fest and BUTTER 4. (Photo/Polina Osherov)
Mali and Alan Bacon, co-founders of cultural development firm GANGGANG announced plans for 2024, including I Made Rock ‘N Roll Fest and BUTTER 4. (Photo/Polina Osherov)

Putting Indianapolis artists on a global stage with BUTTER was just the start for GANGGANG.

The culture development firm announced its plans for the first three quarters of 2024, leaning into the idea of authorship and identity as a means of economic justice and reparations, Alan Bacon, co-founder of GANGGANG said. 

“I think in December, the world might be like, ‘Wow, like out of Indianapolis?’” because I think that that’s how much larger this advocacy will go,” Mali Bacon, co-founder and executive director of GANGGANG, said. “I hope that that programming and our message has gone so global that the narrative in Indiana changes.”

Part of that narrative is already starting to change, Alan Bacon added, referencing the couple’s appointment to co-chairs of the creative council of the 2024 NBA All-Stars Weekend.

The first of three of GANGGANG’s large-scale events in the city this year, the 2024 NBA All-Stars Game is providing a unique intersection for sports and arts to showcase Indiana’s long history with basketball while highlighting the diverse talent of the working artists in the city, Mali Bacon said.

“We were always in the mindset of knowing that this event was coming to Indianapolis, just knowing just the importance of this event to Black culture and Black people nationwide,” Alan Bacon said. “What we’re going to do within the city is how we’re going to treat not just our guests but our residents that are here on how to create legacy moments for Indianapolis, and what is the way that we’re going to really amplify and uplift our creative sector during this time period…”

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GANGGANG will host another advocacy play in the spring, this time in the music space, Mali Bacon said. In partnership with Forty5, Indiana’s largest Black rock and roll fest will take place Saturday, May 18, 2024, at the American Legion Mall, 700 N. Pennsylvania St.

The I Made Rock ‘N Roll Festival aims to be an intentional moment for the community to come together to celebrate some of America’s greatest Black rock musicians, who not only set a precedent for new music genres but have also gone under credited, Alan Bacon said.

“It’s so neat, the artists made this music, which was rhythm and blues,” Mali Bacon said. “They renamed it to rock and roll to connect the mainstream to bring everybody together through this music, and then, of course, as many things are, taken over and used to divide the country. And so now, even well beyond those authors, you know, what an honor.”

American rock and roll has been a construct used to divide versus connect as it was intended, Mali Bacon explained. In the creation and presentation of the I Made Rock ‘N Roll Festival, GANGGANG is “honored to amplify the authors of the genre that brought America together.”

The festival will feature Janelle Monáe, Gary Clark Jr., the Robert Randolph Band and more in a one-day music festival tribute to Black artistry. The festival is open to guests of all ages. Tickets start at $75 and can be purchased at imaderocknroll.com.

Rounding out the summer, BUTTER 4 promises even more growth and excitement surrounding Indianapolis’ visual artists. All three of the larger programming activities planned for 2024 aim to look a little different as each put a spotlight on Indianapolis and are reaching global audiences, Mali Bacon said. 

“GANGGANG has the opportunity to go deeper with our message,” Mali Bacon said. “They [people] know that we are about equity in the arts, and so now we can go deeper with our advocacy, and we can go more visible with our programming because people are catching on and maybe catching up.”

For more information about GANGGANG, The I Made Rock ‘N Roll Festival and BUTTER, visit ganggangculture.com.

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx