Can the things we do online, have a real and positive impact offline? This was the premise, and a challenge, picked up by Raoul Kerr for his EP The Guerilla Games. Now out with it’s third and final installment, a single called Raise No Flag, Raoul has launched a worldwide movement with the release, for the purpose of actualizing positive change.
Raoul Kerr is an independent hip hop artist from New Delhi, India and one of the driving forces behind the No Flag movement. His brand of music is defined by his lyrics and it’s ability to create a positive real world impact. Raoul is both a solo performer and a member of the Indian Folk Metal band Bloodywood. He has been a professional musician since September 2017, his debut single For Her (a commentary on sexual assault and rape culture) was met with widespread appreciation in India, before Ari Ari (an anthem for unity in diversity and his first collaboration with Bloodywood) went viral across the world. Raoul went on to join the band and they toured Europe in 2019, selling out 12 of 15 shows, it culminated with a performance at the Wacken Open Air Festival.
The Guerrilla Games EP is a three-track EP by Raoul, whose work started in 2018. It derives its name from “guerrilla warfare” which is “the engagement in a war fought by small groups of irregular soldiers against typically larger regular forces”. In the context of the EP it describes the nature of the No Flag movement as a digital army of people across the world that is using pop culture, the internet and focused mass action to dismantle the current system that serves a few, in order to create a new system that benefits everyone. The first track “Exhale” which was released in November 2018, drews attention to the air pollution crisis of New Delhi and is an appeal to the government to take serious action. Raoul had partnered with Change.org, an environmental NGO Swechha and a news platform The Citizen, to launch a petition called the Action Plan for Clean Air. It was signed by people across the world and acknowledged by the Chief Minister of the state, who took proactive steps the following year.
The second track “The Nation Needs To Know” used a rabid news anchor to highlight the system wide corruption of India that extends beyond politics, and is a call to action for everybody to take responsibility and build a better nation.
The third and final track released last week, “Raise No Flag”, marks the launch of the No Flag movement. It is a rallying cry for the world to continue to work together after we defeat COVID19 as well as an international call to arms against the climate emergency and every global injustice faced by humanity today. The EP highlights different levels of an individual’s responsibility. The three songs progress from issues at state level, to national and then international level. The message is that we have to work together at all three levels in order to comprehensively reshape the world. This EP is a blueprint for the movement.
When asked about the No Flag movement, Raoul says “We’re here to change the game. I’ve always believed in No Flag, but everyone else showed me what it could become. So off the back of the new Guerrilla Games EP, we’re officially a brand and a movement. The plan is to use a combination of music videos, business, and activism to create a positive impact. As a business, we’re a profit for progress venture, made by and for the people. Currently, we stream music and music videos, perform live and manufacture and sell merchandise. We work with individuals and organizations that want to make a positive impact on the planet. Our aim is to grow into a completely sustainable business capable of fuelling a global movement”.
With the launch of Raoul’s latest single, the movement has chosen climate as it’s primary focus and aims to reverse the effects of the climate crisis. Launched off the back of The Guerrilla games EP, No Flag’s clothing and merchandise includes the black and white No Flag Original, and limited editions in the form of the Guerrilla Games edition and One Love edition. The No Flag Original is a 100% certified, environmentally responsible t-shirt, certified by Fair Trade and the Global Organic Textile Standard. It’s made using Fair Trade, organic cotton which is grown using natural seeds and no toxic chemicals such as chemical fertilizers or pesticides. This results in energy and water saving, maintenance of soil health and less financial burdens on the farmers. It also ensures they are paid fair prices for their crops, along with an additional premium that they can use to build infrastructure for their communities or invest in new technology for their fields. The factories that manufactured the t-shirts are also certified by Fair Trade, meaning better wages, no child labour or unsafe working conditions. The t-shirts themselves are made using natural materials. This includes an eco friendly screen printing process and natural dyes.
When asked about the what realistic changes Raoul hopes to bring with this movement, he says “Realistically, global revolution. Especially now after COVID, I think the collective trauma has brought us together and primed us for a massive push. What we were able to create as a band and community with Bloodywood and Jee Veerey continues to inspire me, both as a band member and a solo artist. When music can be the deciding factor between life and death for hundreds if not thousands of people, you really start to appreciate its power. We built on that with our work with Yaad, and in a less tangible sense, with Exhale. I think a blend of those strategies can be used to reshape the world.”