Nonprofit launches music video contest in hopes of kindling anti-war sentiment


11/07/2006 Americans rejected the politics of hate and fear by electing a new House and Senate, and OC celebrated.

11/01/2006 Lots of new OC songs finished mastering including Overcast, Sister Hepatitis, Parachute and USA.

10/15/2006 OC begins filming its "Fear" video which will be released around the end of November. Storm entered the Metro covering his face with the traditional Arab head scarf (Shimagh) and was quickly accosted and banished by the cops after passersby complained that he looked like a terrorist.

10/01/2006 OC finishes video of "Innocents," dedicated to all the innocent victims of Bush’s wars. We filmed Storm at the Islamic Center Mosque before getting thrown out, and the vid is on YouTube and elsewhere.

09/17/2006 OC begins filming new video of "Liberty," directed by Shane Felux of Panic Struck Productions/xilepictures. Check out their blog and some pics of Siren on the film set at the October 3rd post. Look for the vid to be done around Christmas.

08/04/2006 A master film director who recently won a George Lucas award has signed on to shoot OC’s first video featuring Siren. The filming will take place in mid-September and the vid should be released in October. We will keep you posted on developments and will add some pics of the shoot as we get them.

08/02/2006 New OC Video Debuts To Critical Acclaim

OC released its new Not My America video today and it is already being shown on many sites including:

05/30/2006 Op-Critical releases two new protest songs that can be used in the JTM Harmony Vids! Campaign—Armageddon and Shame on Fools. Listen here.

These songs are the first of many that include our newest member, Siren.

05/20/2006 Justice Through Music - The Music In The Message

The 1960s was a time of intense political activism for artists of all stripes. Everyone from hard Rockers to sentimental Folkies sang about social injustice, racism, war and just about every other political issue you could imagine. Seems everybody had something "political" to say or sing.

Then came the Disco 70's, followed by the hair-band 80's and the self-tortured 90's. It's not that social consciousness disappeared exactly. Midnight Oil, R.E.M., U2, Natalie Merchant, Pearl Jam and others continued to inject politics into their songs. But on the whole, political messages have been absent from most popular music (with the exception of Rap) over the last couple of decades.

Either pop culture has finally tired of self-absorption (doubtful) or the overwhelming number of controversial flashpoints like The USA Patriot Act and the war in Iraq has forced artist's in the Post 9/11 decade to once again squawk about something bigger than themselves.

Understandably, artists may have mixed feelings about whether airing rebellious political views is good for their careers (check out AP Sept.04 edition). And we should note that many don't care about the positive or negative effects on their careers; they're doing it because they want to express their beliefs.

And while their managers and booking agents might want them to restrain themselves, one left-leaning organization, the Justice Through Music Project, is devoted to encouraging artists to speak out, and helping them to meld political activism with effective marketing. Most recently, JTMP signed a high-profile deal to help promote Neil Young's new anti-war protest album, "Living With War." (You can listen to the entire album at the Justice-Through-Music Project site)...

Read the full article at

05/12/2006 Justice Through Music HarmonyVids! Campaign Takes Off

In the three weeks since Justice Through Music launched its HarmonyVids! Campaign featuring Op-Critical music, it has gotten over 1.1 million hits on its website and lots of attention by fans, the media and the industry. Scores of people have expressed an interest in creating new videos, Neil Young asked JTM to promote his new ‘Living With War’ CD, the media has been calling and talk radio has been playing O-C music.

O-C has been back in the studio with another dozen songs now being mixed for release in the coming weeks. Two of those are protest songs, one called 'Armageddon,' which is amazing and frightening, and another called 'Shame on Fools,' with a take off of Aretha Franklin’s 'Chain of Fools.' These two songs, and several of the others, include our newest member, Siren, who so many fans have commented on in your emails as being cool eye candy. Well, as you will hear, she sings even better than she looks.

04/24/2006 @ 12:38 pm

Filed by John Byrne

An alternative rock band is joining with a music-oriented nonprofit in an attempt to rally anti-war sentiment through music videos, RAW STORY has learned.

Justice Through Music, a national group that uses music to catalyze youth interest in U.S. politics, has announced a contest in which entrants are asked to submit music videos to accompany an anti-war song written by the indy rock band Op-Critical. The group hopes to stir up anti-war sentiment using music.

On their website, the band debuts their own protest video, shot at Arlington National Cemetery. The video captures the funeral of Army Specialist Kendall Frederick, a Maryland native who was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb. Op-Critical shot the video at Arlington last October, and has since been banned from making films at the cemetery.

Op-Critical spokesman Craig Gillette says they’ve been encouraged by the upcoming release of Neil Young's 'impeach the president' album. Young has brought new life to the anti-war crowd, Gillette says, and he hopes the group's contest will do the same. Op-Critical is offering $500 for winners in each of six categories: rock, alternative rock, urban, R&B, country and other.

"Music has power," Gillette says. Musicians "should use that power to help bring about social change to leave a better world behind."

"We hope it will create a brushfire effect to get other people involved and help people speak out," he added.

The contest comes on the heels of a new Neil Young album in which the country rock icon calls for President Bush's impeachment. Young, who has supported Bush in the past, says the album is about "empowering people by giving them a voice." (Raw Story did an advance review of Young’s album this weekend – you can read it here.)

Gillette, who grew up as a military brat, says there is a personal element to the campaign. His father supports the war.

"Right now there's a rift between my dad and I, who's a Bush backer," Gillette said. "The main thing I see about the music is young kids listen to musicians more than they listen to their parents. I know when I was young I’d go to my room and listen to a record."

Videos to accompany the group's song "Ornament" are due by Sept. 15. Winners will be chosen by a panel that includes Jeff Cohen, a prominent entertaiment attorney, and will likely include judges from the American Film Institute. Op-Critical will enter the best videos at the Indie Music Video Festival.

Gillette says the goal of the project is to "get people involved." He points to the rich political music protest landscape of the 1960s as a model, where music fueled a broad anti-war movement.

"Back in the 60s music played a big role in terms of political and social change and there's no reason why it can't be done now," Gillette said.

"We want videos that have staying power, that make a cultural statement, and that have an emotional component to them so that they will influence youth," he added. "Politicians spend hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars on ads to influence middle class America, and they basically ignore young people totally; and we feel like the music videos are like the cultural statements or the ads for young people, so we hope to get them involved and influence them to make the right decision in November."

Op-Critical was banned from shooting video at Arlington after officials discovered the film was being used to protest the war. But their sample video – which shows Frederick’s grieving widow and his young son dealing with the loss of a father to a war fought on foreign soil – provides a vivid illustration of how music can be tooled to influence political sentiment.

Op-Critical joins with Justice Through Music,, in a protest music video campaign called Harmony Vids! to influence people through the power of music and imagery. JTM submitted press releases about this on April 15th and ads will appear in Rolling Stone, Spin, Billboard and Rockpile to spread the word about this unique campaign to make cultural statements.

There is a contest attached to this campaign with thousands of dollars in first prize money and tons of exposure. So get involved, tell your friends, and start making videos. And all you other enlightened bands, join with us in this campaign and put your protest music video on JTM so people can see and hear what you have to say about the state of the world.

Press Release:
April 1, 2006
Washington, DC
Contact: Craig at


On April 15, 2006, Justice Through Music,, a non-profit that works with famous bands to inspire people to support civil rights, will launch a new campaign to called 'Harmony Vids!' to motivate artists, bands, filmmakers, and others to create a whole series of new protest videos. JTM is looking for videos that make a cultural statement, have staying power, and will result in a change in consciousness.

In the first category, JTM will post a few dozen protest songs from the band Op-Critical, and whoever makes the best video of each song will win at least a $500 prize, and the video will be featured on the JTM front page, submitted to film festivals and cable TV, placed in a Harmony Vids! DVD, included in press releases, and played on many Internet sites, cool blogs and news sites where they will be viewed by millions of people.

The second category will be for bands which submit their own music videos, and the same prizes noted above will be awarded for first place in the following categories: rock, urban, country, and other. Prizes will only be awarded if there are multiple submissions for each song or band category.

Protest songs can be about the war, politicians, the environment, fascism, lies, fear, the military and all civil rights related topics. JTM will post all videos submitted as long as they are good quality. Submissions will be accepted until September 15, 2006 and winners will be announced by October 1, 2006. For more information, visit Justice Through Music,

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