Behind The ScenesCOVID-19ESPN CareersInnovationThe UndefeatedWalt Disney CompanyWorking @ ESPN

Sunday’s ‘A Room of Our Own’ Special On ESPN Powered By New Covers Of Classic Songs

Here's the thinking behind Vol. 2 of Music for the Movement EP, another collaboration of The Undefeated and Disney Music Group debuting today and featured in 'Room'

The Undefeated and Disney Music Group today released Volume 2 of Music for the Movement EP series highlighting the nationwide movement against injustice through music and art.

Jathan L. Wilson, Senior Manager of Creative Strategy and Marketing at Disney Music Group (Jathan L. Wilson/ESPN)

Jathan Wilson, Senior Manager of Creative Strategy and Marketing at Disney Music Group, has led the critically acclaimed project. He is responsible for talent scouting, providing creative direction, serving as compilation producer, and more.

On Sunday at 12 noon ET, three musicians in the series – Freddie Gibbs, Jensen McRae and Tinashe – will host The Undefeated Presents: A Room of Our Own on ESPN, a television special that explores the inspiration Black athletes draw from music for change in their communities.

Wilson, who has been central to the collaboration between Disney Music Group and The Undefeated, discussed the music projects with Front Row.

On the genesis of the “Music for the Movement” series …
Music For The Movement is really the brainchild of Kevin Merida (SVP and Editor in Chief, The Undefeated) and Raina Kelley (Managing Editor, The Undefeated). Ken Bunt (President of Disney Music Group) invited me to a brainstorm with Kevin and his senior staff to discuss how our groups could collaborate more closely. Our discussion pivoted to the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the nation and how important it was for The Undefeated to amplify the conversation around social injustice and equity.

Then Raina presented this idea – reimagining iconic protest songs by and for Black America with contemporary artists and producers. I immediately fell in love because I understood exactly what the project needed to be and how to execute on the vision. It took just five weeks from the initial idea to having music that was being mixed and mastered. That never happens.

On what Disney Music Group and The Undefeated look for when picking the songs and artists for the series …
We collaborated to create a master list for Volume 1 that we’re still working off. Songs like Steve Wonder’s “Living For The City” or Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up” and several others. It’s important to me that I give each artist agency to pick a song they feel connected to, whether it’s on the list or not. You can’t force an artist to cover a record they don’t know or understand. As long as the song is connected thematically to the spirit of the project, it’s something we strongly consider.

On his thoughts about seeing three artists (Gibbs, McRae, and Tinashe) from the music series hosting The Undefeated Presents: A Room of Our Own
I have a responsibility to myself as a Black man and to my community to use the levers available to me to amplify a message that is ultimately edifying and pushing Black people forward. Prior to my current role, I worked in Synergy and saw firsthand the promotional might of The Walt Disney Company and how our various business units come together to amplify major initiatives such as a tentpole studio film release. I have been extremely motivated to find ways to leverage other parts of TWDC to create opportunities that continue to raise the visibility around this work. A Room of Our Own is the perfect example of that, and I am extremely grateful to executive producers Sharon Matthews, Michael Fountain and The Undefeated team for making it a reality.

On describing the collaboration between Disney Music Group and The Undefeated …
One word: seamless.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jathan Wilson earned a 2021 NAACP Image Awards nomination for Outstanding Producer of the Year for Music for the Movement Vol. 1. The 52nd NAACP Image Awards will air March 27 on BET.

Back to top button