New York, N.Y., Sept. 8, 2020 – It is reported that in 2020, more than 90 percent of independent venues including bars, stages and clubs are at risk of disappearing. These iconic venues, that employ around 15.6 million people across the U.S., are in danger of closing forever as communities continue to battle the business impacts of COVID-19. In response and as part of its continued efforts to inspire generosity, Crown Royal is launching a renewed effort in support of these cultural landmarks. In partnership with Main Street Alliance, Crown Royal is launching a robust relief campaign to help America’s favorite bars, stages and clubs.
To kickstart the relief effort, Crown Royal teamed up with renowned artists Ari Lennox, Anthony Ramos and music powerhouses Dreamville/Interscope and Republic Records to recreate the famed Sly and the Family Stone song, “If You Want Me to Stay.” The song is currently available on all major streaming platforms – listen now to help (HERE).
For every stream of the track, Crown Royal will donate funds to Main Street Alliance, helping venues across America. Main Street Alliance is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting small businesses in the United States, focusing on elevating small business voices on policies that level the playing field so small businesses can be creators of good jobs in communities across the country.
“Whether the music we listen to, the sports we watch or the great conversations we have, these landmarks represent the vibrancy of culture in bringing people from all walks of life together,” said Sophie Kelly, Senior Vice President of Whiskies at Diageo. “As a brand built on giving back, it is our responsibility to create opportunities that champion the communities, places and spaces that have always been there for us. We’re thrilled to work with these talented partners and hope people will stream this song, so we can make real impact.”
As a part of this collaboration, Ari and Anthony will also be donating their royalties from the song to the cause. In solidarity, and for the next year, both Dreamville/Interscope and Republic Records will match the artists’ royalties with a donation to Main Street Alliance.
“I was honored to be a part of this project with Crown Royal, where Anthony and I were able to use our passions for music to give back during these unprecedented times,” said Ari Lennox. “Our hope is that people will connect with this cover as much as they did with the original. Ultimately, we want to bridge together generations of music lovers, while encouraging everyone to support local communities.”
“I am excited to continue my partnership with Crown Royal and give back to bars, stages and clubs,” said Anthony Ramos. “I have always loved what Crown Royal stands for, and this project has motivated me to put in 110% towards the art I put out as we look to directly help these small businesses survive.”
As part of an integrated initiative, Ari and Anthony will perform the cover in a new Crown Royal television ad campaign, airing nationwide, that highlights affected venues. The spots are also available to view on YouTube. The track’s official music video will launch next week on Ari Lennox’s official Vevo channel.
In a continued effort by DIAGEO to support Free the Bid, the campaign was directed by renowned director Karena Evans, whose vision and leadership helped bring the TV commercials and music video to life. Anomaly New York serves as the lead creative agency behind this purpose-driven campaign.
Furthermore, as some venues begin to reopen their doors, Crown Royal will also supply updated point of sale assets, provide training with brand ambassadors and create a sustained effort to raise additional charitable funds through sponsored events.
Help Crown Royal support bars, stages and clubs and the people who make those venues special by streaming the “If You Want Me to Stay” track and visiting crownroyal.com. As always, please drink responsibly and raise a glass to generosity.
About Crown Royal
Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is the number-one selling Canadian whisky brand in the world and has a tradition as long and distinctive as its taste. Specially blended to commemorate a grand tour of Canada made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 1939, Crown Royal's smooth, elegant flavor and gift-worthy presentation reflect its regal origins – it is considered the epitome of Canadian whisky. For more information, visit www.crownroyal.com. Crown Royal encourages all consumers to please enjoy responsibly.
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan's whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.
Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. Visit Diageo's global responsible drinking resource, www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives and ways to share best practice.
Follow us on Twitter for news and information about Diageo North America: @Diageo_NA.
About Main Street Alliance
Main Street Alliance is a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues. Alliance small business owners share a vision of public policies that work for business owners, our employees, and the communities we serve. Donations from this partnership will support the Main Street Relief Fund for direct grants to impacted businesses and to support public policy solutions. Interested independent bars, restaurants and venues can get connected at mainstreetalliance.org/partnerships.
About Ari Lennox
There’s something undeniably profound about great voices. From the beginning, talented singers and their melodic gifts have served as soundtracks to our lives. Dreamville’s Ari Lennox is no different. The D.C.-born singer-songwriter experienced an incredible 2019, complete with the release of her debut album, Shea Butter Baby. The effort featured the vintage production stylings of Elite, Christo, Jaylen Rojas and multi-instrumentalist, Masego. The video for the duly titled sultry single, "Shea Butter Baby," alongside label head and marquee artist, J. Cole, has surpassed 29 million views on YouTube alone. The album also spawned the singles "Up Late" and "BMO" which Ari performed on Jimmy Fallon in June 2019. The intimate video for "Up Late" received nods from several major outlets including ESSENCE, Noisey, Pitchfork and Billboard. Ari supported the album by headlining her sold out Shea Butter Baby Tour before joining Lizzo's Cuz I Love You Too Tour. Ari has been a frequent name on the awards circuit, as well, receiving a Grammy nomination for her contribution on Dreamville's album, Revenge of the Dreamers III. Ari was nominated for three 2019 Soul Train Awards, two 2020 NAACP Awards.
About Anthony Ramos
Born and raised in Bushwick, NY and of Puerto Rican descent, Anthony Ramos first made his mark originating the dual roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in the TONY® and GRAMMY® Award-winning Broadway smash Hamilton, which recently premiered on Disney +. From there he went on to appear in additional critically acclaimed projects including “A Star Is Born,” “Monsters and Men,” Spike Lee’s Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It,” and recently voiced the character of King Trollex in the blockbuster film “Trolls World Tour.”
Signed to Republic Records, Ramos released his debut album, The Good & The Bad, in the fall of 2019. The album received extensive praise and debuted in the Top 10 on iTunes Pop Albums Chart upon release. This Summer, he released a brand new single, “Stop,” alongside an inspiring video that beautifully captures these unprecedented times and serves as a call to action for people to vote, and support BLM.
Next year, Ramos will star as the lead role in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s highly anticipated “In The Heights” movie directed by Jon M. Chu for Warner Bros.