Akenya
Credit: courtesy of the artist

On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark decision Roe v. Wade, unceremoniously stripping away half of the population’s right to bodily autonomy and therefore full citizenship. While the ensuing backlash helped shape the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections, downgrading the “red wave” that political pundits and mainstream media had told us to expect into a “red trickle,” those victories haven’t been enough to reverse this disastrous backsliding: as of December, 14 states have made legal abortion completely unavailable, and eight others have enacted laws curbing reproductive rights. With lives at stake, Ground Control Touring’s Abortion Funds Benefit Series aims to raise awareness and engage communities with three simultaneous concerts benefiting reproductive justice organization Noise for Now, all on January 28 in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. 

The Chicago event brings together an eclectic roster of local talent, including Akenya, a vocalist, pianist, and composer who’s working on her debut solo album, Moon in the 4th, though her CV is already several miles long. She’s collaborated and toured with Noname and Hayley Williams, recorded with Mavis Staples and Nubya Garcia, and fronted local band Resavoir. In her own music, she’s explored jazz, hip-hop, classical, and more, often incorporating themes of social justice; last year she released a recording of Fear the Lamb, her three-movement chamber-music tribute to Emmett Till. Also on the bill are Bnny (a country-tinged, smoky indie-rock outfit fronted by Jess Viscius), hip-hop and pop-punk artist Godly the Ruler, folk-rock singer-songwriter Elizabeth Moen, glammy pop singer Grelley Duvall (a project of theatrical performance artist Alex Grelle), and more. Whether you come out for the cause or for the lineup, you’re bound to leave more inspired than when you walked in.

Abortion Funds Benefit Series Featuring performances by Akenya, Bnny, Elizabeth Moen, Finom, Friko, Godly the Ruler, Grelley Duvall, Lifeguard, Post Animal (DJ Set), and V.V. Lightbody. Sat 1/28, 7 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, $30, $25 in advance, 18+