Dollar Discoveries

Emma Higgins

If you’ve been a Cinnamon reader for a while, then you’ve definitely seen the handiwork of Dara Bankole, one of the site’s primary photographers. By day, Dara works in the creative synch department at BMG, and fits in freelance photography on the side. But as if one side hustle wasn’t enough, she was recently spurred to action by witnessing the spread of COVID-19 and the economic hardship many people are facing due to the crisis. Moved to share her love of music in a creative way outside of work, Dara decided to start Dollar Discoveries, playlists with a cause.

The process is simple: First, listen to one of the playlists created by different curators for Dollar Discoveries — that’s easy. If you discover a song you like, consider sending a dollar donation to Dara on Venmo (@Dara-Bankole) for every song you discover. She’ll then collect the funds and donate the total to Dollar Discoveries’ selected charity for that week. This is a new project and it’s in the early stages, so things may shift as it gets bigger, but that’s the format for now. It’s a great way for people in the music industry and beyond to reconnect with music and music discovery, while also giving back in a small way.

“The goal for the fundraiser in general is to be able to have people donate to a variety of different things through the crisis while also being conscious of the fact that it’s hard times for everyone,” Bankole explained. “A couple dollars a week can really add up though, and I think this way also makes it easier to just support others. I know it was a little stressful for me knowing that there were so many good causes. All in all, I want people to walk away each week with new artists and songs that they love while also knowing they did a part in helping others.”

This week’s playlist curated by Dara can be found here, and is also embedded below. Proceeds from the first week of Dollar Discoveries will go to patients and healthcare workers in her home state of New Jersey at Penn Medicine Hospital who are battling COVID-19. It features some of her favorite artists from New Jersey, “from friends to my heroes.” (Look out for a playlist curated by me, Caitlin, coming at you very soon, along with plenty of other amazing music industry folks who know their way around an expertly sequenced collection of songs.)

But if you know Dara then you already know her taste is excellent and she has an ear for bands as they’re about to break, so regular playlists from her will be a real treat. “I’ll be the main curator but in the future, I’m going to have guest curators and have them choose an org/person/place of their choice!” she said. “I’m planning on doing next’s week for The Bootleg Theater (a local venue in LA). They have a GoFundMe for their staff, that they actually just reached the goal on but planning on donating to them anyway. They’ve been a home away from home for me and my friends.”

Listen to the week one selections dedicated to New Jersey below, keep an eye out for more playlists coming very soon from Dollar Discoveries, and follow them on Instagram here.

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