Michael Franti Receives Ralph J. Gleason Award


The Rex Foundation is pleased to present the 2010 Ralph J. Gleason Award to Michael Franti. The $10,000 award is presented in memory of music journalist Ralph J. Gleason, a major figure in the advancement of music in America in the 1960s as a longtime contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, a founding editor of Rolling Stone Magazine and co-founder of the Monterey Jazz Festival.   Mr. Gleason’s openness to new music and ideas transcended differences between generations and styles.


Michael Franti and the crowd share some Power to the Peaceful in Golden Gate Park.

A Bay Area native, Michael Franti has been bringing our world exceptionally powerful, deeply felt music under a variety of names and in a wide range of genres for twenty years. From the intense punk rock of the Beatnigs, to the deeply political rap he made with the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy to his joyful and meaningful modern soul music with Spearhead, and now as Michael Franti & Spearhead.

As Rosalie Howarth, Rex Board member and KFOG Show Host and Director of Special Programming, explains, “The Ralph J. Gleason Award honors people who strive to bring fresh cultural ideas and music to the mainstream public. Through his positive, inclusive lyrics, and his personal visits to strife-ridden areas such as Iraq, Palestine and Israel, Michael has seen firsthand the effects of war. He has taken his music to the people on the street, and absorbed their cultural influences in return, bringing them back to share at his annual, free ‘Power to the Peaceful‘ festivals in Golden Gate Park, and on the silver screen with his powerful documentary ‘I Know I’m Not Alone.’ Michael’s unfailing optimism toward the human spirit and his tireless effort to spread peace and multiculturalism make him a world citizen and highly deserving recipient of the Rex Foundation Ralph J. Gleason Award.”

Franti states,  “It’s a huge honor to be recognized by the Rex Foundation for this award.  Being a fan of the Grateful Dead I know the diversity of its community and share the vision of creating togetherness and acceptance through music.  My musical message is much the same: If we can bring people together through the one-ness of music, it gives a starting point to address the larger needs of our communities and the world.  I am excited that music plays a greater role in the lives of all of us than ever before, and the encouragement of this award reaffirms my faith that my journey has been worth every precious step!”

Learn more about Michael Franti and his contributions from the following links:

Michael Franti



Power to the Peaceful