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Ash Koosha to Play SXSW Showcase of Artists from Trump's Banned Countries

ContraBanned: #MusicUnites will also feature Mamak Khadem, Faarow, and Khaled M.

Iran-born, London-based artist Ash Koosha will play a SXSW showcase called ContraBanned: #MusicUnites highlighting artists persecuted by Trump's controversial travel ban. Set to take place March 17 at Austin's Palm Door on Sixth venue, it will also feature Los Angeles-based Iranian vocalist Mamak Khadem, Somali duo Faarrow, and Libyan-American hip-hop artist Khaled M. Each of these artists is from one of the seven predominantly Muslim countries targeted by the ban.

ContraBanned was put together by the arts and immigration policy non-profit Tamizdat in collaboration international music non-profit globalFest and radio program "PRI's The World." They are currently crowdsourcing the travel and housing costs for the musicians on Kickstarter, and so far they have reached $14,315 of their $15,000 goal. Today the organizers also added a new "stretch goal" to $23,000 for the project, with the hope of building towards more events celebrating "this critical message of unity and diversity."

The ContraBanned organizers shared a statement describing the mission of the showcase on their website. "If we are going to give voice to global artists, especially artists from often misunderstood and misrepresented Muslim-majority countries, and strengthen diversity in our culture, then we need to make it our mission to use whatever power we have at our disposal—the power of media, the power of capital, and the power of music—to promote diversity, empathy, and understanding," they said.

Soon after it was introduced, Ash Koosha shared an impassioned statement opposing Trump's ban. "No one chooses to be exiled and no one chooses to be born in one place or another and it is in no one's interest to ban global progress, something that many people from different nationalities are contributing to daily and they are doing it all for the future of humanity," he said.

Although the ban has been defeated in court since it was instated via executive order on Friday, January 27, Trump and his administration are currently working to replace it with an updated immigration policy. Indeed, as the organizers of ContraBanned point out, the original ban continues to have significant political and social impact even though it was suspended.

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