Indie Pop Band Fun. Becomes United Nations Free & Equal Ambassadors
Indie pop group fun., well-known for their breakthrough 2012 album Some Nights, has recently been named "Free & Equal Ambassadors" by the United Nations. Through this initiative, the trio now speaks out for LGBT rights and dignity worldwide through the esteemed international organization.
Fun., comprised of musicians Nate Ruess, Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost, released their first album, "Aim and Ignite," in 2009. They would reach the mainstream in 2012 with the aforementioned "Some Nights," which debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and was certified platinum. The signature single from the album, "We Are Young," performed with Janelle Monáe, held the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop charts for six straight weeks. It would go on to be certified five times platinum and would win Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards. Additional singles from the album, including the eponymous "Some Nights" and "Carry On," ended up being certified four times platinum and twice platinum, respectively.
According to the United Nations Free & Equal Coalition website (unfe.org), Free & Equal is "...an unprecedented United Nations global public education campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. A project of the United Nations Human Rights Office being implemented in partnership with the Purpose Foundation, Free & Equal will raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and promote greater respect for the rights of LGBT people everywhere."
Fun. is no stranger to LGBT advocacy work. In 2012, Jack Antonoff, with his sister, fashion designer Rachel Antonoff, created The Ally Coalition, in which musicians and other artists are encouraged to use their fame and their voices to speak out in favor of LGBT equality. After two years of doing just that, Antonoff and the other two members of fun. are now being recognized internationally by the United Nations, allowing them to continue their advocacy work, all the while reaching more people than they ever could have imagined.
Recently I had the chance to speak to Jack Antonoff, the lead guitarist of fun. and the founder of The Ally Coalition, in this exclusive Hotspots interview.
I’m sure a lot of your fans would love to see you again down here in Florida. When will you be back?
Shortly! We love Florida. We love playing there. It’s always a blast. On my first tour when I was 15, I went to Florida. So, it always feels like the place where things got started.
Why do you feel it is important to speak out for LGBT equality?
It’s the human rights issue of our time - it affects everyone. I believe that if we all don’t have freedoms, then none of us really are free - just some of us are more privileged than others. If you are someone who does not have those freedoms, it’s important to speak out because you’re specifically oppressed. If you’re not someone who’s being oppressed, it’s important to speak out because that’s the only way change can happen. It’s important for everyone to be making noise about what’s going on. It’s very rare that we live in a time where we have such a massive universal human rights issue, and it means everything for everyone to stand up together.
How did you all get the idea to start The Ally Coalition movement?