Many of you may remember a video that came out during the very start of the Coronavirus pandemic that featured a slew of celebrities singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Also, many of you may remember hating how tone-deaf it was, and the fact that this video was made by millionaires who weren’t exactly acknowledging that their positions during Covid-19 are sizably different from the majority! It was certainly a frustrating video, but now with 2020 in our rearview mirror, we can be thankful for the release of a far more empathetic piece that also happens to nod to a Beatles song.

&Friends, a coast to coast-based organic collective of artists, musicians, producers and videographers, has just released a video that’s something of a house/gospel reimagining of “Let it Be”.

The four minute video (currently the homepage on their website) depicts a plethora of things, but centrally it focuses on a wide-variety of people from different nationalities saying the phrase “let it be” in their own language.

The video is vibrant, conflating with the lively music, and is quite capable of instilling a little more hope in people during these most uncertain times.

“Here at &Friends, we’re really concerned with giving people more openness, to freely express themselves,” explains founder Sean Peckenham. “How do we give people the toolkits that allow us to connect with our true self.”

Peckenham has a background as a DJ and a musician which led to the formation of the collective. He initially moved to New York from San Diego in 2016 as a Marketing Entrepreneur but has always had a calling to get back into music. The original idea was that &Friends was just going to be a music group, but then the COVID-19 pandemic made him want to make the brand more expansive than that.

“Since I was younger, I feel like I’ve been a guide for a lot of my friends, especially those that faced a lot of mental health issues like I did myself,” Peckenham explains. “The pandemic made me realize this was my calling. We all go through so much pain and trauma, but not all scars have to be ugly.”

He went into creating this video with an objective of conveying community. He wanted to make it all connected, and sent hundreds of personalized voice recordings to all of the video’s contributors feeling that a certain something would be lost if he just sent out mass texts. These messages were then shared by the contributors with people they knew, resulting in a volume of contributions that was double what Sean had anticipated. “I had told my video editor that we were going to have about 50-100 people send in videos for this,” he states. “In reality we got over 200!”

He has great ambitions for the future of &Friends. Peckenham’s finishing up an album with his best friend, business partner and producer Michael Scheinker, and an incredible musician lineup that they plan to release come May, and are also in the process of making an &Friends foundation with the specific goal of helping people from all walks of life. He also has revealed that he’s shooting another Beatles remix video for (but of course) “Imagine”, and that will also focus on a drag queen named Nomi, and their struggles.
&Friends is exactly the creative banner we need right now, to remind us that hope remains in our new unfamiliar world.

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