Monmouth University students release album to provide diversity and inclusion

Some students at Monmouth University are celebrating diversity and inclusion through art by creating a music album featuring students at the university.
The EP is called “MADI: Vol. 1,” which stands for Monmouth Arts for Diversity and Inclusion. The five-song album was released at the end of June and was put together in less than a month.
One of the tracks is entitled “The Bird That Dropped from the Nest” by Monmouth football player Manny Christian.
“It just felt great to be able to put a piece of work onto something that I can hear over and over again and I could share with the world, so it was just an amazing experience,” Christian says.
He submitted the work as part of an open call for students to submit audio as part of Monmouth University’s own record label’s first original EP. The project didn’t start off easy.
“We had nothing. We had no logo, we had no music. We actually went out for a second call for submissions because it’s a sensitive topic, so I realize that everybody is talking about it,” says MADI executive producer and professor Rashida Scott-Cruz.
The project was funded by the university’s Intercultural Center with a diversity innovation grant.
Christian’s spoken-word piece was inspired by his response to Trayvon Martin’s death in 2012, when Christian was only 13 years old.
"I want everyone to try to understand that… people come from different backgrounds and it's all right to try to understand the differences between people,” he says. “I feel like if you're putting in the effort to understand these differences, then you're doing the right thing and you're helping humanity come together."
The EP was fully crafted by the art students involved in less than a month. It streams on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play.
"You have to live with yourself at the end of the day and you're the only one who knows all of your flaws, all of your imperfections. That it's okay to embrace that,” Christian says.
Scott-Cruz says that everyone should experience the album.
"I really, really hope that all individuals from all nationalities, all ethnic backgrounds would certainly take a listen and just hear what they have to say because it's really healing,” she says.
Because this was a grant-funded project, the hope is to do another one like this if that grant money comes in. Right now, the goal is to promote and market the first volume.