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 Jesse Williams and J. Period linked on a new musical venture featuring an all-star lineup of acts, all inspired by the EPIX network’s original series, America Divided. The project, titled Rise Up!, features the likes of Rhymefest, Xzibit and more.

Williams, an actor and celebrated activist, is one of the producers helping to bring the America Divided series to the masses. Spearheading the musical accompaniment in Rise Up!, Williams and his collaborators are hoping to use music as a way to bring forth discussions around race in today’s turbulent times. The project was announced today in New York, and the ambitions are noble.

From the press release:

 From Marvin Gaye to Sam Cooke to Bob Dylan and beyond, Civil Rights struggles have a rich history of connection to music. So it is, in the spirit of that tradition, J.PERIOD and Jesse Williams join forces with artists from The Playlist Retreat to create a new wave of music for a new movement with the release of RISE UP! Music Inspired by the EPIX Original Series America Divided. The first single from RISE UP!, entitled “Miranda,” features an introduction from actor/activist Jesse Williams, with rappers Rhymefest & Xzibit posing provocative questions about the state of our nation over a J.PERIOD-produced beat. “We’re pointing fingers at each other and we’re missing the point…” Rhymefest begins. Unity, not division, is the solution for what ails our country—a fitting message in honor of what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 88th birthday earlier this week.

Executive produced by Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes, and Common, the EPIX Original docu-series America Divided features celebrity hosts including Jessie Williams (Senior Producer), America Ferreira, Rosario Dawson, Amy Poehler, and Zack Galifianakis investigating a wide range of social justice issues including criminal justice, immigration, housing and voting rights, and education. The series also forges the foundation of Jesse’s partnership with J.PERIOD, who composed the original theme song for the show.

Some of the power-packed features include Black Thought Posdnous of De La Soul, Aloe Blacc, DMV acts Raheem DeVaughn and Maimouna Youssef, and producers such as Tall Black Guy and Stro Elliot.

“In the process of progress,” said Williams via a statement. “We are reclaiming our best practices, heroes, and nomenclature. I am a proud producer of the America Divided docu-series and honored to work alongside producer and mixtape master, J.PERIOD, in creating a soul-sonic experience that is both homage and inspiration to the critical thinking that undergirds liberation movements of past, present, and future.”

J. Period has been busy of late, this after he helped produce The Hamilton Mixtape which debut last month.

To learn more about RISE UP!, follow this link. For info on America Divided, click here.

The first single from the project, “Miranda,” features Williams, Rhymefest, and Xzibit is out now.

Photo: Adriana M. Barraza/