- Ruta Smith
- Tazz Majesty got involved in activism in college
Cody Dixon, rapper Slim S.O.U.L., has picked up the mic at rallies around downtown over the last two weeks. It’s not too surprising, considering his background in advocacy. Dixon started S.O.U.L. Power Productions, a nonprofit dedicated to arts and education, when he was in college, and used the platform to build a recording studio for the IQRA Bilingual Academy in Senegal.
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Contour songwriter Khari Lucas doesn’t consider himself an activist, but said his presentation of his humanity and emotions are “inherently political” because he is a black artist. “I would define people who dedicate their lives to political reeducation, organization and community work as activists,” Lucas said. “It’s really important to me to contribute to those things, but I don’t want to take up space by claiming that label.”
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In the past few months, Lucas has participated in activities calling out some streaming services for their monetary practices, and occasionally posts about topics on social media.
“While donating, sharing information and participating in actions during a violent and explosive national crisis is necessary, it is also literally the bare minimum,” Lucas wrote on Instagram. “And i’m wary that for many [white people], this solidarity is more indicative of a recently recognized social status quo than it is indicative of a willingness to truly evaluate your individual complicity in white supremacy.”
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After now infamous incidents at the College where students dressed in offensive and racist costumes on Halloween, Tazz began participating in and organizing protests. Fuel was just added to the fire when events she tried to organize were consistently turned down “because of the participants.”
“They have this stereotype that if we congregate a whole bunch of African-American people or minority people, it’s going to get out of hand and we’re not going to be able to control it,” she said. “That’s what really hit home for me.”
Benny Starr, possibly the area’s best known rapper, often seeds activism in his music, writing thought-provoking lyrics about struggles unique to black men and women in the Lowcountry. While admitting there are activist tendencies in his songwriting — frequent dissections of specific topics that affect the black community in the Lowcountry — Starr refers to himself as an artist instead of an activist.
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Thanks to the voice that music provides him, Starr has spoken out in other areas, as well. He endorsed Elizabeth Warren for president and caused a stir when he left TEDx after a racist comment was said behind the scenes. Recently, Starr has been working with PolicyLink’s Water Equity and Climate Resiliency Caucus, and he’s building a curriculum based on his 2019 LP A Water Album with Charleston Activist Network founder Tamika Gadsden.
“It’s important for artists to use their voice. I don’t always feel that it’s a requirement for artists to use their voice,” he said. “Some people may be confused or they may not know how to most effectively use their voice, they may be on that path of learning, they may be on that path of self-actualization.”
Healing is the goal for her music. “My overall intention is healing,” Blues said. “Healing of myself and hopefully sparking others on that journey of healing. Hopefully my words and my music embody that. That’s really the only intentional thing about my music.”
But, she clarifies an important point when discussing the black experience. “Black is not a monolith. I can say that 10,000 times because I don’t think people understand that. It’s not monolithic, everybody has a different experience. And I don’t think people should police how black people respond to generations and generations of trauma.”