Professional musicians and race-relations experts Arno Michaelis and Daryl Davis, once performed on stages that were ideologically worlds apart: One preached hatred and violence, while the other asked, “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”
A founding member of the world’s largest White power skinhead organization and lead vocalist of the popular hate metal band Centurion, Arno Michaelis once seethed with racial hostility, hell-bent on the destruction of anyone who wasn’t white. Bellowed lyrics about killing and burning non-whites spilled over as violence in the streets following his concerts. Arno did a great deal of harm to the world before his seven-year stint as a leader of hate groups ended. His book, My Life After Hate, vividly details how forgiveness, offered by the very people he detested, turned his life around.
At the same time, on another stage in the same country and sometimes in the same town, another man performed. Daryl Davis’s ballads of love and up tempo Rock’n’Roll had diverse audiences dancing with each other, brought together by a common love of music. Between his concerts, Daryl Davis attended Ku Klux Klan rallies and met with members of the KKK, neo-Nazis, and other White supremacist, White separatist, and White nationalist groups, seeking to understand where their hate came from. His book, Klan-Destine Relationships, details his unique and successful method of defecting White supremacists by befriending them. Over the years, Daryl has led entire families from hate groups and single-handedly dissolved nationwide Klan chapters, all with the power of friendship.
After the 2016 election, friendship seems more challenging than ever before. Old-guard hate groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis have come together with a new generation of White nationalists to form the so-called Alt-Right. Blatant racism has emerged from the shadows to claim a voice in our nation’s government. American citizens have a much more difficult time discussing current events and some family members no longer speak to each other. People of color, immigrants, Muslims and LGBT people fear for their safety and their children’s futures. Some have even asked, “Is this the finale for American democracy?”
Enter Arno and Daryl, standing together as brothers on the same stage all over the US and abroad, embracing and supporting each other’s passionate and effective efforts to bring peace to society. Through captivating storytelling and thoughtful conversation, these two former rivals demonstrate the possibility of reconciliation and human kinship. Having lived such proof of concept, Daryl and Arno engage audiences with a message of hope and humanity when it is most sorely needed.
Daryl, an internationally known recording artist who has played with the founding father of Rock, Chuck Berry; and Arno, who cut his teeth roaring hate-infused Heavy Metal, understand the healing power of music. Audiences worldwide appreciate experiencing Arno and Daryl. Their appearance supports the idea that the universal power of music can bring all of us together by directly confronting racism.
NO PLACE FOR HATE is a guided tour through the minds of those who want to hurt others for having a different skin color. Feel the trepidation of walking into a Klan rally, knowing walking out may not be an option. Learn how hearts and minds change from driven by hate to dedicated to love. Their experiences are unusual, but their messages are uplifting and offer hope. Audiences leave inspired to go forth and become the change they want to see for the betterment of society. They too, will be able to change hearts and minds, now armed with lessons in communication, understanding, forgiveness and love.
“The presentation was outstanding. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from those who attended the event – campus and community members. Discussions continued long after the presentation ended…” – Bernadette Tiapo, Ph.D, Director, Office of Institutional Diversity – University of Saint Francis
“The presentation was a hit. Daryl and Arno were engaging, interactive, and truly connected with the audience to share their message.” – Laura Gardner, Coordinator of Student Life and Development – Kankakee Community College
“Students who attended the Race and Friendship Community Dinner were empowered to take the courage and determination that they absorbed from Michaelis and Davis and implement a similar understanding at Bucknell. Many students are now confident in their own abilities to transform the social hierarchies at Bucknell with a more positive understanding of how people interact with one another. Perhaps our school is taking baby steps towards equity as opposed to tolerance. I’m confident that these skills will prepare us to eventually make the world a better place.” — Alex Rosen, SGA President – Bucknell University
“Daryl and Arno were awesome, one of our best programs in years…Their message really struck a chord.” — Tim Sullivan, Associate Dean, Student Affairs – Worcester State University