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Protest Playlist: Conscious rap, hip-hop and jazz tracks for the revolution

Conscious lyricism and sound have always had a home in hip hop culture. With many early soul, jazz, and hip hop tracks detailing the life and struggle of Black communities. Many early artists’ careers were solidified in the collective consciousness through their emphasis on speaking out against the powers that be. 

Since then a genre appropriately called “conscious rap” has risen in contrast to hip hop and rap that is decidedly more focused on other areas of life. During this time of revolutionary unrest, it’s only fair we bump the right anthems. So here’s your tracklist of albums and bops that are decidedly for the movement.

The Historical Oldies

As mentioned earlier there’s a long history of revolutionary music and music’s role in inspiring the masses for change. These few tracks are from the era of the Civil Rights Movement and still ring true in the spirit of changing the circumstances of our lives and calling for a new day. You might have heard these at your grandma’s house and they’re still worth playing today.

Little Ghetto Boy by Donny Hathaway

The 1972 song “Little Ghetto Boy” follows the many problems that a young Black child will endure growing up. But it also beautifully motivates that child to grow up and fight and change those circumstances for a better tomorrow.

“Little ghetto boy
When, when, when you become a man
You can make things change if you just take the stand
You gotta believe it yourself in all you do
You’ve gotta fight to make it better
Then you will see how others will start believing to
Then, my son, things will start to get better”

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke

Released on Cooke’s album Ain’t That Good News in 1964, it was admitted into the Library of Congress in 2007. The song is an oldie and a goodie for uplifting hopeful revolutionary spirits. 

“It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die
‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there, beyond the sky
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will”

The Old School and Legendary

Alright, if you’ve watched literally any historical hip hop docs like Hip-Hop Evolution on Netflix, or The Defiant Ones on HBO you’ve probably learned about some of these iconic tracks or artists. And of course the spirit of revolution and anti-police brutality and anti-racism has always existed in their eras of musical thought. These are the tracks we’ve chosen to highlight for our current struggle.

The Message (feat. Melle Mel & Duke Bootee) by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five

First released as a single by Sugar Hill Records on July 1, 1982, The Message is one of the biggest outspoken songs of its time. Hip Hop was always big on social commentary, and “The Message” was the first prominent hip hop song to focus on the stress of inner-city poverty including police brutality and overall oppression. The Obamas were even seen rapping along to the following lyrics during Taking the Stage, an event honoring the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“Don’t push me, ’cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head”

Fight The Power by Public Enemy 

One of the most recognizable songs out there on the struggle is “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy released the summer of 1989. Also popularized by Spike Lee‘s film “Do the Right Thing,” the song “Fight The Power” is clear about getting ready for fighting racial injustice. 


Keep Ya Head Up by 2PAC

Off his album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., Pac was known for his revolutionary and thoughtful politics. He married both street knowledge and higher knowledge of the struggle bringing several lyrical pieces of art to life. “Keep Ya Head Up” is for Black women specifically who are so often forgotten in the movement and Black struggle, but are always at the forefront of fighting for change. So as an updated approach, to all you overlooked groups from women to queer and genderqueer Black and Brown protestors “Keep Ya Head Up” out there.

Bring Da Ruckus by Wu-Tang Clan

From their huge project Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the iconic collective released “Bring Da Ruckus.”  Wu-Tang is known for it’s social issue-based organizing so it’s not wrong to use their track to bring some pride behind your civil disruption for the cause. So make sure to “Bring Da Ruckus” at your next rally. 

We the People… by A Tribe Called Quest

A Tribe Called Quest has always been vocal about social issues, and even after an 18-year hiatus their record We got it from here … Thank you 4 your service had HUGE success. The whole album is a great revolutionary tracklist, but “We the People…” really encompasses the intersectionality of the struggle. 

“Talkin Bout A Revolution”  by Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin Bout A Revolution” is that oldie you should bring back in the rotation. You probably know her from “Fast Car” but she’s one of the best revolutionary folk music artists. 

Chill-Hop for the Calm before or after the Storm

These are the tracks to keep you calm before you go out to protest or bring you down after a long day of fighting the power. It’s important to turn down and chill, so here are some tracks that are still cause-appropriate.

In the Comfort of by Sangó

The Never Story – EdEddnEddy by J.I.D

The Fall – Make My Way by Marcellus Juvann 

“I really do this, peace like a Buddhist

But I can really show my temper for them niggas acting stupid 

talking bold on the computer”

A Seat at the Table-Mad (feat. Lil Wayne) by Solange Knowles

Bars for the Hard Shit

Crenshaw by Nipsey Hussle

Of course Nipsey Hussle is a requirement on your protest playlist. Our highlighted track is Face the World from his Crenshaw album. 

Black (feat. A$AP Ferg) by Buddy

This one speaks for itself.

Immigrants by Belly

From the album Immigrants which has many tracks about social injustice, we chose

“Who Hurt You” and “Immigrants (featuring M.I.A and Meek Mill)”, just check out these lyrics from Meek’s part in the latter:

“Yeah, lock us behind a wall like we was Mexicans

Broad-day shootouts in front of pedestrians” 

To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar

Another obvious choice. Definite tracklist requirments are “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright.”

Neighborz by J.Cole 

The track follows J. Cole talking about his experience in a white neighborhood and the racism of his neighbors.

“I can’t sleep ’cause I’m paranoid
Black in a white man territory
Cops bust in with the army guns
No evidence of the harm we done
Just a couple neighbors that assume we slang
Only time they see us we be on the news in chains, damn”


The entire album is perfect for the current climate but our track suggestions include “FOR THE PEOPLE,”

“This for my people, tryna stay alive and just stay peaceful

So hard to survive a world so lethal

Who will take a stand and be our hero, of my people, yeah?”


 The Art of Dying by Tru Heru

The album has a few relevant tracks but “The Art of It” has a clear call to action, 

“I promise, you don’t know how to lose you ain’t ever gon win no

How you ever gonna really live if you’re so afraid to die

Die die

Promise you will never understand cause you’re too afraid to try” 

Bars for Inspo and Motivation

Need some inspo or motivation? Here’s a good place to start:

001 Sesame St main mix final [prod. FOREVER ANTi PoP] by David Sebastian 

Run Wild Free EP -You Can Do Anything by TopDawgEnt

Robots – So Many Feelings by EarthGang

“I feel I think I don’t know shit sometimes

I feel survivors guilt, but I don’t feel alive

Often wonder why”

Made in the USA ft. Bianca Sings by Lupe Fiasco

And if you not tryna spend hours curating your own playlist, just bump ours fam.

There’s a reason why sobhhï is Dubai’s hottest R&B artist out

We all know that discovering a new favorite artist can be one of the most exhilarating experiences. It’s even better when you get to expand your music repertoire. sobhhï is the chart-topping R&B artist you should know. I got a chance to interview the elusive sobhhï who has otherwise done very little press in the past, embracing his mysterious, faceless persona.

With a blend of dreamy R&B, bedroom soul, and rugged hip-hop, sobhhï’s sound is essential “music for late nights.” He’s also a multi-faceted artist, producing all of his own music, handling all his business himself-no management, and even directing his own videos.

His Origin story

As the NO. 1 streamed R&B artist in the UAE and one of the top artists generally in the Middle East, sobhhï is a Dubai-based R&B artist who was born in the States but moved around growing up.

“Moving around and integrating with different communities made me feel that there are more similarities than differences in this world.”

sobhhï attended UC Berkeley for undergrad and was studying for a Ph.D. in applied mathematics at the University of Chicago before taking time off to pursue a career in music.

I asked the artist what led him to a career in music. sobhhï’s story begins with a heartwarming anecdote of him as a young child being exposed to the piano at school. sobhhï recalls being tasked with performing at a recital.

“There was a song book with three or four songs that we had to choose from to perform in the recital. I had a hunger for a greater sense of originality. So that night I wrote my own song. It sucked, but it was original.”

He asked his teacher after class if he could perform his own original song instead and the teacher agreed. That small act of encouragement was where it all started.

sobhhï explained that his namesake is one passed down from his grandfather. The root word “sobh” means “morning” in Arabic.

“I hope I can honor my gramps, he was the only grandparent I got to know.”

The name “sobhhï” means “of the morning. This is in contrast with the record label/ collective sobhhï started ‘NUIT SANS FIN,’ which means “night without end” in French.

His Creative Process

sobhhï’s sound is distinct in it’s euphoric and mysterious mood. Knowing how the artist is solely responsible for much of the music it was intriguing to learn how he went about creating that sound.

“It depends on the song. Some start with the voice notes app on my phone, some start on an acoustic guitar, and some just start in the studio. I think that’s the least critical part of the process.”

What sobhhï considers the most critical part of the process is far deeper than any technical or practical procedure. It’s far more conceptual and profound than writing lyrics and then a melody or vice versa.

“What is for me absolutely critical, on the other hand, is that inspiration comes first. For music to be meaningful and intentional, I feel that it has to be about something. I’ve gone months without writing or recording and other times, full albums come together in the matter of four or five weeks.”

That inspiration can come from any portion of sobhhï’s art. It’s not surprising to learn about his attention to the visuals that accompany the music.

“For me, this isn’t just about audio, it’s visceral. The final product may be auditory, but the experiences themselves that end up in the songs were full body. And that’s why creating the visuals to go with the music feels natural.”

sobhhï goes further to explain that the experience could very well go higher by moving beyond the audio-visual. Perhaps we should stay on the lookout for full sensory projects spearheaded by the R&B artist.

“If I had to extend that to smell, taste, and feel (the other senses), it would be just as natural too.”

Quarantine & Chill with SOBHHÏ’s sound

sobhhï’s latest track is timely titled “Quarantine & Chill.” With the world on pause and going through a slew of emotions while social distancing, it’s no surprise that SOBHHÏ is able to channel that emotion into his art.

The lyrics are relatable with an emphasis on lost time, connection, and a yearning for a partner during a difficult time. The melody grips you like a never arriving base drop.

“The whole lockdown situation has me feeling a way; feeling trapped, desolate, uninspired. But at the same time, we got a chance to slow down and think about where we’re really at right now.”

The track is accompanied by visuals in deeply calming yet powerful in black & white. The greys of the visuals compliment the track with empty space, singular subjects, and larger than life backgrounds with varying focus.

The visuals, lyrics, and melody all come together to tap into our collective consciousness of loneliness, lax anticipation for this all to come to a head.

“The track, just like many others, is a journal entry. I’m bottling up the moment for later.”

This expertise in dreamy R&B is apparent in sobhhï’s other popular tracks including “pull up on you” and “imagine that” with over 1million streams each. sobhhï even occasionally blends Arabic lyrics, switching from English to Arabic seamlessly on his song: facts up. His other notable music videos include “4am in riyadh” and “2019 freestyle.”

sobhhï captures easily an alluring and deep R&B sound of what can be compared to that of The Weeknd’s legendary “Wicked Games.” In fact, he’s created his own version of the song leaning into it’s “baby-making” potential. Other notable influences include Drake, J. Cole, and overall 90s hip hop.


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Wicked Games (baby-making version), as promised.

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sobhhï’s racked up quite a few projects with growing success. I asked him what advice he would’ve shared with his younger self who hadn’t yet started his musical journey. His response was simple, firm, and applicable to all those who are tiptoeing around their passion.

Stop planning, start moving.

Out of all Dubai artists on the come up you should bump sobhhï

Zonnique stays on her grind with new releases ‘Winner’ and ‘FTCU’

Zonnique’s journey as a young artist has been a full one. Her career began with a girl group call OMG girlz. You may know about her talent and story via the reality TV show “T.I. & Tiny: Friends and Family Hustle” on VH1.

Being the daughter of talented and successful parents in their own right undoubtedly created a nurturing environment for the artist to grow into her own sound. I got a chance to talk to Zonnique about her latest releases as she grinds to create more projects.


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only the beginning 🌟 📹 @giftedtalents

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Creating during a pandemic

Amid an ongoing pandemic the 24-year-old TV personality and singer has been spending her days in Atlanta. I asked the star what she was doing to pass the time during stay-at-home orders.

“Just occupying my time and trying to stay creative, and learn a couple of things. I learned how to cook that’s my biggest thing during the quarantine.”

The artist is still staying on top of her game even though the music industry can seem difficult to navigate during uncertain times. Zonnique has kept her eye on the ball.

“Having people send me beats and stuff so I can just write, stay creative, even though I’m not leaving in the house.”

Zonnique’s music career on the rise

During our conversation, we discussed Zonnique’s OMG girlz group era. The group whose name is an initialism of Officially Miss Guided began in 2009 and was active until 2015.

Tameka “Tiny” Cottle (Zonnique’s mom and manager) founded the group which included Bahja “Beauty” Rodriguez, Breaunna “Babydoll/JusBre” Womack, and Zonnique “Star” Pullins.

The friends have since gone on to launch solo careers. Zonnique shared her feelings on the transitioning process from girl group to solo act. Zonnique points to her shyness as the most notable change in the process.


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Issa album cover or nah? 💗💜💙📸: @mrwattson

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“It was just a lot of growing I had to do coming out of it, because in a group you can just always lean on your two group mates. Which was the case for me and just always having them was a big help for me. I was very comfortable that way.”

Zonnique has since steadily broken out of her shell. Something fans of the VH1 reality show have witnessed with Zonnique pursuing her solo career. She’s since matured as her own artist.

“I definitely had to do a lot of training and learning myself, find confidence and listen to my own voice on a whole song. And, you know, get better with writing and stuff like that.”

That maturity and growth have undoubtedly affected her recent releases. “Born Winner” and “FTCU.” Unlike many artists who often will do a full 180 to separate themselves from a former group act, Zonnique does not shy away from focusing on what she truly wants to share as an artist.

Her work improves but you can always count on it to sound like herself and not an attempt at generating shock factor. Zonnique emphasizes that her growth has been incremental with a natural progression.

“I wouldn’t say that there’s been a big, a big shift. I would just say that my new sound grows with me”

The inspiration behind the tracks

I asked the R&B artist what the inspirations behind her latest releases were. She responded highlighting her dedication to challenging herself musically and exploring her thoughts and feelings through songwriting.


“For FTCU I really just needed an up-tempo song. I’m really comfortable making slow love songs all the time. So when I went to the studio that day I was just like, ‘I just need something that girls can dance to. Like a party type song.’”

Zonnique explained that she asked her producer Jay Reed, to create a New Orleans type beat at which immediately brought the inspiration behind “FTCU.”


The song “Winner,” Zonnique explores a deeper meaning with the track’s lyrics. The song opens with a voicemail prompt and Zonnique’s message to her exes:

Here’s a message to my exes I hope that you learned your lesson
And I know that I left you sick when I packed up my stuff and left
So get well soon, I wish you good, could still be cordial but not that cool
You did me dirty, know that hurt me, long time, no you never deserved me


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I asked Zonnique about the track’s message and inspiration. She explained that the track explored feelings she’s had in the past that she didn’t feel like she could share through her music. With “Winner” she felt like it was time to share those past experiences through music.

“This was a song that I just wanted to speak on. Things that happened to me in the past that I never got out or expressed my feelings about… Doing music is how I express myself.”

Influences and collabs

Zonnique also gets inspired by fellow artists and legends in the music industry. Her interests span artists old and new, as well as across genres.

“I would say Brandy is one of my biggest inspirations. Missy Elliott, she’s so creative. I love her and Jhené Aiko, John Mayer and Ariana Grande. The variety [of inspiration] is wide range when it comes to so many different artists and different genres of music, but those are probably my mains.”

When it comes to collaborating with other artists Zonnique has several in mind.

“I would love to work with Rihanna. Jhené Aiko for sure. SZA, Summer Walker, Victoria Monet-I’m in love with her. Tory Lanez, Chris Brown, there are so many people.”

Zonnique promises her fans that she’s still working on new content and music videos. She’s looking forward to releasing a solid body of work as well as performing once the pandemic eases. Zonnique also left her aspiring artist fans some advice on their come up.

“Just work on their craft as much as you possibly can. Before you even try to just jump into the industry. Just really work and master your craft as much as you possibly can.”


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Stop sleepin’ on British R&B artists: How to appreciate from overseas

While R&B is getting a refresh in recent years with new artists breaking out in the US, the UK has steadily been producing quality sound with British R&B artists taking center stage.

The way foreign music makes its way to the states can be up to chance. Songs like “Boo’d Up” by Ella Mai can find second wind years after they’re released. While artists with huge fan bases in the UK can be virtually unknown on our side of the globe.

While US songs still hold the highest rank in many UK charts, there are still UK songs with arguably R&B roots that break the top 10 across the pond. Today, s1mba’s Rover (featuring DTG) at number eight has familiar r&b melodies, with a hip hop beat, and is native to the UK.

But overall we know that the UK has an R&B scene, but why don’t we know about more artists?

The Rarity of Crossing Over

In the past, British R&B artists have popped up on Americans’ radar few and far between. While Sade Adu still remains a beloved legend, UK artists, especially those of color are still having a difficult time making it big in America.

In the early 2000s, Estelle made it in the U.S. and despite reiterating that she was not a new artist and had years of success across the Atlantic, the US press consistently gave her freshman titles.

During her speech for winning the MOBO Award for Best Newcomer in 2004, she emphasized “I’m not a newcomer.”

Amy Winehouse, Adele, and to a lesser degree Lily Allen were able to translate her British Fame into a huge success in the US. It’s not anything to point out that they were white women who got plenty of play in white America.

Some ascribe Winehouse and Adele’s success to the internet’s vast ability to help artists go viral.  Even more recently, few artists have gained some notoriety via a song or two with the undeniable help of the internet. The latest perhaps being Ella Mai with Boo’d Up and Jorja Smith.

Stop Sleepin on R&B artists in the UK

That doesn’t mean that we can’t keep an eye out for R&B acts worth discovering from our fellow non-American artists.

Music preference algorithms work in such a way that once you’ve listened to one foreign R&B song it’s easier to get more recommendations from that country and genre. And while the U.S. is having a sort of reshaping and revival of the R&B genre, it seems like the UK has had hits for years that just didn’t make it stateside.

Artists like Ella Mai, Mahalia, Raveena, James Vickery, Kaiit, Kwaye have had success online through viral moments but deserve more time in the American consciousness. The variety can truly be beneficial.

Lately, we often have solid American R&B trends of R&B with traditional hip-hop blends. It’s refreshing to hear a different take on R&B with more chill-hop influence. There’s no language barrier so why not give the UK a chance?

Mahalia’s “What You Did” has amassed over 36 million streams on Spotify. For the sake of comparison, recent R&B newcomer Snoh Alegra’s “I Want You Around” has gained just under 32 million. Raveena’s “If Only” is at 21 million streams. Dani Leigh’s “Levi High” is at over 12 million streams.

So, there’s definitely an audience for UK sound. What will it take for us to peep and appreciate? Maybe an American co-sign like Kanye with Estelle would help. If that’s the case, Mahalia just hopped on a track with Jacob Collier and Ty Dolla $ign. Perhaps this will be the first of many.

Searching for quarantine love? Filter Off founder Zach Schleien gives advice

If you weren’t seeing someone before social distancing became a requirement or you stopped seeing someone amid the stay-at-home orders then you might be feeling discouraged with the dating scene.

Filter Off is here to take out the unnecessary and frankly uninspiring aspects of online dating apps, to offer a more real-life translation into romantic chemistry. I got a chance to talk to the app’s creator Zach Schleien about the app’s innovative structures that allow for real connection.

It might feel like there’s no imaginable way to meet someone beyond swiping through profiles with the hopes that a pre-quarantine photo will strike your fancy. And even after matching you might spend days or even weeks messaging someone you may never really meet up with.

Filter Off removes that ‘wait and see if chemistry moves off-screen’ hassle.

Rundown of the app

Zach explained the basic premise of the platform as a video speed dating app. When you sign up, Filter Off offers you date nights on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. The app will ask you whether you’re free for a date tonight and then you can choose your time.

“And it’s literally like no work, like no friction for the user.”

Your dates are scheduled back to back, each lasting 90 seconds. The incentive is to vibe with someone in a short amount of time, and if you want more time you match with each other and can continue the conversation.

The Inspiration

Schleien decided to create Filter Off after a string of unsatisfying dates and a lack of immediate chemistry via traditional online dating apps. Going on dates after meeting online and exchanging conversations via text can be quite disappointing.

We’ve all been let down by connections that made sense via the app, but just didn’t translate to real life. Zach was always fascinated with dating apps and the journey from online messaging to in-person chemistry.

“I used to run a dating blog — and it covered apps — and it was just frustrating getting on a date and doing a swipe and everything and actually meeting them and going for a drink and in two minutes, you understand that it’s just not a fit.”

Most people just soldier through that date, wasting more valuable time on someone they know they’re likely to never really talk to again. But Zach decided to take a different approach to avoid that awkwardness altogether.

“I just started asking women if they could facetime, and most actually said no, probably thirty percent actually said yes. I wanted to face time before time so that we could just see if we vibe. And if they weren’t into me, save them their time.”

The focus on video chatting helped Zach recognize a way to avoid the lackluster dates. Like many million-dollar ideas, Zach saw a solution to a problem that so many were having and decided to share it.

“I realized that this is what I enjoy — that authentic human connection where I can do that, and I realized that no one was doing it. So, I just did it myself. And that’s just kind of how Filter Off was born.”

Filter Off started before the pandemic and had a somewhat rocky beginning. Many potential users weren’t comfortable with the video aspect or took issue with other structural ways the app worked. Growth was slow.

“We started this about a year ago and the first version, it was difficult to attract users.”

But Zach and his team knew they had something and didn’t let up. They spoke to hundreds of users and potential users asking for feedback and how to improve the app. As a result of their research, they renovated the whole app.

The premise stayed the same, and a relaunch happened at the end of February of this year. The growth was decent until the stay-at-home orders went into effect.

“Then the pandemic happened, and then it really exploded.”


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Stay safe out there.

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During stay-at-home orders, the app fits in well with some of our primary ways of communication and connection: video chats. But what makes the app even more attractive is its other parameters.

Innovative selection without the limitations

“We have tried to make it feel like you don’t have unlimited dates. We wanted each date to feel like a date, to feel special.”

So why the 90 seconds. Zach explained that you can usually know if you hit it off with someone on a basic vibe level in a short amount of time. The flip side of that is to consider is that you want to avoid that time-wasting,  ‘soldiering through’ phenomenon.

“And what you realize when you’re hitting it off, ninety seconds is not enough time. But when you have a date where you are not feeling it, I could get off before ninety seconds.”

But how do those dates get selected for you? Dates are chosen based on your preferences, such as radius, location, gender interest, music preference, you name it there’s probably a preference choice.

filter off dating app

Zach assured me that despite all of those parameters, the app won’t reject a potential date just because they don’t align with some of your preferences. Love isn’t a checklist. Plus the way it works also avoids the lack of incentive found when you have unlimited choices.“

The concern with unlimited choices can go so far as to affect mental health. Zach explained that with an abundance you feel you are just one of many, not important and without human connection, you stop seeing the humanity in others too.

“You forget that every profile you swipe left, that’s a human. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t swipe left, but you should experience, an authentic connection.”

The solution to this is to change the availability of too many options and add back in that undeniable human component, face-to-face interaction.

“You give yourself the opportunity and then you give yourself a moment, the ninety seconds, to see if you are a fit”

The other awesome thing about Filter Off is that it’s a blind date. So you’re not able to reject someone beforehand just because they might not look like the person you would date.

“But they are blind, and the fact that when you get them, you can see their fun facts but their photo is blurred.”

This action addresses the issue of stereotyping within the online dating world. We’ve all seen the stats broken down by ethnicity or race and how some identities are simply rejected from the onset. Filter Off avoids this with the way the platform operates in terms of preference-based date selection along with blurring photos for blind dates.

“We don’t want to be a swiping app, because there’s an option that you can cancel that date, and I don’t want people canceling because of how someone looks. Our tagline is going beyond the profile, and so again, it goes beyond the profile, race, ethnicity because you never know.”

Pushing Innovation

Filter Off is continuing on features that are most important to users such as providing international dates. While some are content to date within a small area radius, others especially during social distancing orders, are finding out of state and international connections far more possible. Filter Off is currently available to everyone around the world. Filter off regularly runs global date nights if there aren’t enough people in your area for their weekly event or interest-based events. Global date nights allow you to connect with anyone around the world.

“Let’s say, you are quarantined in Chicago and you want to date in New York City, we will be providing that. In the next couple weeks, I think there will be an increase in people connecting romantically all over the world because everyone is quarantined.”

Filter Off also curates speed dating events, both on and offline. The event allows attendees who have chosen one or more specific filters to speed date each other. Those in person events are curated in NYC, Chicago, SF, and LA as well as the UK.

Zach explains that anyone can create an event based on virtually any filter or interest. There’s flexibility with the event as well, you can charge a small fee to enter the event or keep it completely free to attendees. Companies can create and run events.

Zach spoke fondly of several events Filter Off made happen. In a religious event, over two thousand dates occurred to fill a demand from an orthodox Jewish community who felt there wasn’t a platform for them.

Zach also looked forward to an LGBTQ event, and mentioned that events can be curated with as specific and as broad parameters as needed. He mused that you can run a vegan event where all attendees are vegan for example.

“These are the things that you can’t find in an app — and its tough in real life to find someone romantically, like who is specific.  It’s  fun to be able to attend an event like one of those.”

The ability to curate online events has been a big deal for organizers who because of the pandemic cannot operate events in real life. As a result, they’re losing an avenue of income and support. Zach was adamant about providing those people an avenue to continue growing their communities’ engagement while also being able to sustain themselves.

“Considering that a lot of these event organizers have been affected by this pandemic, so like how could I help them create their own events where they could get paid? So, it’s a really special project.”

Zach still emphasized that while it’s possible to create events that are really specific and have one or more set filters, the app itself doesn’t guarantee that every filter you set will be a non-negotiable, or limit all potential dates that fall outside of it.

“You may have an idea of what you want, but when it comes to love and romance, I don’t think many people have an idea of what they want. The divorce rate is almost over fifty percent, so we are not that savvy when it comes to choosing our partners.”

Advice for App Developers

Zach’s advice to app developers looking to launch their own platform is clear: confidence in your goals. Find out what interests you and what you’re passionate about and what you want to achieve. Beyond that Zach emphasizes that you should be open to feedback and advice as long as it comes from an informed voice, and that would be your users. Flexibility with taking that advice is also important.

“Listening to your users is important and being true to your goal is also super important. So yea, be nimble.”

photo cred: Stephanie Diani for Johnson & Johnson

Advice for using Filter Off

But if you’re interested in trying out the app, what should you know? Zach parted with some good advice on how to approach the video speed dating platform. The first being, look presentable for the dates.

You can be more or less casual, but the goal is to treat it like a real date. The other thing to consider is the time frame and making the most of it.

“You have ninety seconds. You can’t just talk the whole time. That’s why you have fun facts […] use the ice-breaker, if you are nervous or if you don’t know what to say. Even from a place of curiosity, ask: “How are you holding up, how has it been?”

One thing is true, there’s plenty of connections to be made via Filter Off, and they’re likely to be a lot more valuable than mindlessly swiping within and outside this pandemic.

Dulcé Sloan’s ‘That Blackass Show’ highlights iconic Black characters

Sharp comedienne and beloved Daily Show correspondent Dulcé Sloan has us tuning in to her podcast THAT BLACKASS SHOW.

TBAS blesses us with great interviews, fun topics, and educational discussions on TV culture and history. We discussed Blackness on TV with Dulce, including her the top three Black TV characters that had an influential role in her life.


Dulcé Sloan started talks with Starburns in December 2019 to start her podcast exploring themes on TV. Sloan credits producer Judith Kargbo with the idea of the show. Sloan was excited about interviewing creatives, actors, and comics in the industry and discussing Black TV in the past and present.

While recordings started before the stay-at-home orders reshaped our realities, they’re being released during a time where content is being consumed more than ever. And what better way to take a break from your traditional entertainment in the form of series and movies, than a light conversational podcast on your favorite Black TV and films?

I asked Dulcé Sloan about some iconic Black characters that influenced her while growing up. She explained their impact in true TBAS fashion, with historical context, personal connection, and overall importance to Black television and culture.

Iconic Black TV characters

Nell Carter in Gimme a Break!

Nell Carter played the lead role of Nell Harper in the 1980s sitcom Gimme a Break!. The series was an NBC hit and aired from 1981 to 1987. Her portrayal of a no-nonsense housekeeper and nanny earned her Golden Globe and Emmy nominations.

“The most significant thing to me was that I saw a woman who looked like me on television.”

Dulcé explained that seeing Nell Carter, a full-figured woman as the star of a TV show left an impression on her as a child. Sloan knew at just six-years-old that she wanted to be an actor, but until Gimme a Break! there weren’t many examples of a full-figured Black woman as the lead on TV or in film.

“I saw her and I was like, ‘Okay, this is a feasible thing.’ I can actually do this. Because a woman that looks like me and the women in my family can star on a television show.”

Dulcé emphasized that despite the role of Nell Harper being a housekeeper on the show, the impact she had as a Black female lead was huge. Her role was also familiar to many Black families, including Sloan’s.

“It was something that was familiar to me, a woman taking care of a family.”

The small difference here was that Nell Harper was taking care of a white family, but this didn’t phase Dulcé as a child. Dulcé emphasized that she would later learn about the history of domestic workers and the many Black women that took care of and still take care of families.

That knowledge only amplified the importance of seeing such a role on television for Sloan.

“She’s a woman taking care of a family. She doesn’t look like this family, but a family is a family. So for me, it was like, Oh, yeah, families can look like anything. It’s a pretty powerful image to see as a child.”

Khadija James portrayed by Queen Latifah in Living Single

living single GIFs - Primo GIF - Latest Animated GIFs

Dulcé remembers the iconic characters from living single fondly. Each having their own impact on her view of Black female TV portrayals. Regine’s (Kim Feilds) fashion sense reminded her of her mom dressing her in little suits for school. Synclaire’s (Kim Coles) kooky personality showed her that being different could be accepted as is.

Another portrayal Dulcé recounts as being significant while growing up was Queen Latifah’s character Khadija James on Living Single.

“This is a woman who looks like me, who is you know, being pursued by men. She has a healthy luxurious life and she runs her own business.”

Dulcé identified with Khadija because she too was an entrepreneur at a very young age. Coming from a family of business owners, young Dulcé saw her mother who had a clothing business, and hair business and wanted to create her own. Her mother was supportive of the idea.

At nine-years-old, Sloan’s mother took her to a wholesale vendor.

“My mother got me a bunch of these toys. She got me a receipt book, and gave me some cash. And she put inventory numbers on all the toys. And so I had to give people receipts I had to keep track of my sales. I had to keep up with my money.”

Sloan learned how to run a business quite young, and seeing Khadija start her own business and be successful at it was both a point of identification and inspiration.

“I was able to understand. Her starting her own magazine and something that she was passionate about. And to see a professional black woman who was successful with her own business, and to see her friends that were successful.”

Sloan discusses Living Single with comedienne, actress, and Daily Show writer X Mayo in a recent episode of THAT BLACKASS SHOW.

Whitely Gilbert portrayed by Jasmine Guy on A Different World.

Whitley Gilbert GIFs | Tenor

Dulcé Sloan’s third character on the list is Whitely Gilbert from A Different World. The show aired from 1987 to 1993, as a spinoff of The Cosby Show. Gilbert, portrayed by Jasmine Guy is introduced as a spoiled Southern belle, who’s character develops to a lovable career-driven young woman.

Dulcé explained her connection to the character being tied to her economic and regional demographic.

“She was southern and rich. It was me seeing southern Black people on TV. All of the Black people I knew had southern accents and didn’t divide the fact of where they were from with who they were as people.”

Southern Black characters were few and far between at the time. Southern accents on television often belonged to white actors and characters. The number of the upper class and wealthy Black characters at the time were also very limited.

“We would see Black people on TV and they were scraping and surviving and were struggling. But she was smart and she was always dressed impeccably and she came from money and from both sides she came from money.”

Whitley would later become an art curator and have several jobs in the art industry. Her ambitions and her family’s prestige and professional achievements meant a lot to Dulcé.

“For me, I grew up in Atlanta so I’d always seen professional Black people. It was being able to see a Black person on TV who not only had a good upbringing and came from money, but also their parents came from money and their grandparents came from money. So it was seeing generations of Black people that were successful.”

THAT BLACKASS SHOW is a discussion you won’t want to miss

Dulcé Sloan’s perspective on Black TV and knowledge of history is invaluable to the discussion on Black culture in media. THAT BLACKASS SHOW not only explores topics and shows in-depth, but also brings in industry professionals to participate in those conversations. And of course, the show is full of humor and real-life anecdotes.

“My favorite segment we do is That Blackass Confession. So I asked the guests is there like an iconic black TV show or movie or, you know, play that they haven’t seen or is there a popular thing in Black culture that they can’t do. So, you know, I always say that I’ve never seen the movie Baby boy and people go Oh, shocking!”

Sloan has discussed staples in Black TV like the show Martin, with Derek Gaines or the network UPN during the late 80s and 90s, with fellow comedian Roy Wood Jr on the show. Other guests include actress and writer Thea Vidale and fellow actor and comedian Jamar Neighbors.

The show’s got plenty more episodes and topics on the books, from 90’s classics like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to modern shows like Insecure and Atlanta. You’ve got nothin’ but time so make sure to tune in!

THAT BLACKASS SHOW is available to stream on Starburns Radio and most podcast platforms including Spotify with a new episode dropping every Wednesday.

Why white privilege is legitimately making POCs fear for their safety

Police brutality and hate crimes have plagued Black Lives for centuries. ICE raids and violent assaults have haunted all immigrants of color for decades. Native rights have been eroded by government contracts and big business greed since the dawn of America.

The war on POC safety is well and alive in the U.S.

These fundamentally white supremacist issues widespread in our society have lived for so long, and become exacerbated with each new era, and the current pandemic is no exception.

Essential Worker and EMT Breonna Taylor murdered by police

Another murder has been uncovered to our collective consciousness. 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by two plain-clothed police officers in Louisville Kentucky, on March 13.

The officers initially stated that they had a no-knock search warrant in a narcotics investigation. They later changed their story to state that they knocked and announced themselves before barging into the apartment with a battering ram to the door.

Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker recounts the experience, stating that the officers did not announce themselves leading him to believe a home invasion was occurring. Walker shot one of the plain-clothed officers in the leg and both officers shot 20 rounds, hitting Breonna Taylor eight times, killing her.

Kenneth Walker has been charged with the attempted murder of a police officer. The officers in question have been reassigned pending the investigation. No drugs were found in the apartment. Taylor’s death was yet another example of the lack of value given to Black lives.

Ahmaud Arbery’s murder and white policing of Black bodies

The murder of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in February of this year by two ex-police started an uproar with a leaked video of the shooting. Up until this month, the killers were not in custody and were not expected to be arrested. The story brought to light the problem of white citizens’ policing of Black people in America.


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i #RUNWithMaud 💔⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ The killing of former high school athlete Ahmaud Arbery jogging while Black occurred in a Georgia suburb on February 23. The shooters are former investigator with the district attorney’s office Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ According to the police report and video recently released, the father and son followed and blocked Arbery’s path and shot him under the excuse that they believed him to be a suspect of recent neighborhood burglaries. (We will not being showing said video). ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ LINK TO SIGN THE PETITION IN BIO.⁣ ⁣ Prosecutor George E. Barnhill, who had the case for a few weeks told the police that the pursuers had acted within the scope of Georgia’s citizen’s arrest statute. Arbery was 25 he would have turned 26 tomorrow.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ He was not carrying a weapon and according to the recently released video can be seen stopped by a truck and grappling with one of the men who was holding a shotgun as several shots are fired at him. The shooters are claiming self defense. ⁣⁣ ⁣ Neither of the shooters have been arrested and after the video calls for their prosecution have swelled on social media, with users actively calling officials to bring justice for Arbery.

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The state sought to protect the shooters ascribing to them some inherent authority over making the decision to detain and shoot their fellow citizens based on fabricated suspicions-not the witnessing- of a burglary.

To say it plainly, they suspected a Black man jogging in their neighborhood automatically to be up to no good, so much so, that it warranted the white men, pursuing the jogger with guns pointed at him demanding he stops for their supposed investigation.

The problem with self-ascribed white authority

The authority of white citizens with guns does not get questioned by our society at large. White pro-gun advocates hold onto their second-right amendment and use that right as a shield against scrutiny. Marrying their 1st and 2ndamendment rights, several protests comprised of largely white citizens have broken out during the pandemic.

The openly armed protestors have rejected stay at home orders, insisting that the pandemic is not as dangerous as it is and demanding the reopening of small businesses largely in the services sector such as barbershops.

The lack of judicial response to these protests-in direct defiance to stay at home orders- contrast with the ongoing violent arrests of (unarmed) Black and Brown citizens in small groups, often sitting just outside their homes.

We can easily see clearly that violence against POC continues amid the COVID-19 crisis while white rights and self-ascribed white authority are respected and upheld.

Black Lawmaker enlists armed Black constituents for protection

Because of armed protests in and around government buildings, a Black lawmaker and Michigan representative, Sarah Anthony enlisted a small group of legally armed Black citizens to escort her to the State capitol.

Anthony cites the danger of white supremacists that claim the state’s pandemic health orders are government “tyranny.”

The escort is reminiscent of the Black Panther party movements and comes after a growing call to arms for Black residents of open-carry states. The representative explained that her decision to enlist her constituents’ armed protection, was in response to the lack of protection law enforcement gave legislators during a recent armed protest.

Anthony told the Guardian that “her goal was not to encourage more armed citizens to volunteer to protect lawmakers, but to ensure that the law enforcement officers paid by taxpayers to keep legislators safe would do a better job in the future.”

Representative Sarah Anthony’s fears are adequate, and in line with many Black and POC sentiments in general. U.S. society continues to be an increasingly dangerous space for POC. Guns may not be the answer but they may be the only way to get a desired reaction.

We are constantly faced with the tale of two Americas, white America and the America of POC. The question is when will we reconcile the two for a better and more just tomorrow.

How you living? 5 times Coi Leray taught us to be CoZ

Coi Leray blew up in 2018 with her track “Huddy,” with a hard baseline and skater streetwear that both spoke to and inspired kids on both coasts. The track starts with one of the artists’ favorite lines to say: “Everything is coZ.”

Coi Leray has gone on to introduce us to her outlook on life via other phrases but the philosophy of being coZ still resonates today. This is five times Coi Leray taught us to be coZ.

The coZ philosophy

In an interview with Montreality, the EC2 rapper explained what it means to be coZ in more depth.

“Everything coZ starts with self-acceptance. Before you can do anything in this world you have to, most importantly know yourself. You have to love yourself. Every day you get to know more and more different things about yourself.”

Coi Leray emphasizes the importance of self-love and self-discovery. When so many of the messages in pop culture can be very material-based, and money-focused (not a bad thing), we can forget the importance of placing our emotional and spiritual needs first. Coi Leray is adamant about this fact.

Being coZ is being comfortable in your own skin, in your choices, and in your changing identity whatever the future may bring.

Love over fear

Nick Cannon regularly asks his guests on his radio show a psychological question. He explains the saying that there are only two emotions and all other emotions are subsidiaries of those two.

He asks Coi Leray which of the two emotions, Love or Fear, would she rather have from her fans and supporters. Coi Leray’s answer was Love despite, Nick’s explanation that respect comes from fear.

“They gonna know what it is as regardless based off of what the fuck I do when it come to my music and my art. But as a person, I wanna be loved. I don’t want nobody to fear nothing. At the end of the day, if you fear that’s a good thing but let that be a personal thing. Love me. Because there’s a lot of muthafuckin hate out here and that’s what be fuckin up a lotta money.”


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Hate doesn’t matter

On the topic of hate, Coi Leray explains in an interview with Sunday Night News on 101.1 The Beat, how being coZ reminds you that it doesn’t matter what others say about you. Haters often harass Coi with comments on her sexuality. People constantly ask her if she’s attracted to women because of the way she dresses.

“A lot of people be like ‘yo you like girls or whatever’ depending on how I dress and stuff. It’s like I like what I like at the end of the day, I’m coZ I don’t have to be sexy all the time.”


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Quarantine VIBEEEEEZZZZZZZZ 😤😤😤😤😤😤 this coi Leray shit cannot be duplicated on God !!!!!

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In several interviews where Coi Leray’s unique style is discussed, Leray emphasizes that she doesn’t like heels and that she may do her hair and she may stick to braids and wear pants but that doesn’t affect her heterosexuality. It’s obvious that the comments on her sexuality are annoying and unnecessary, Coi Leray can wear and do whatever she wants.

“I’m a pretty bitch, hell nah, I don’t need no makeup”

Apply pressure and be consistent

There’s no secret that Coi Leray has one of the most poppin’ social media accounts in and outside this pandemic era. Her content is both engaging and colorful with her personality shining through.

With funny posts, sexy posts, fun promos for her music on IG, TikTok, and Twitter, Coi Leray shows us her versatility and creativity at all times.


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HOT97’s Hip Hop Mike asked the star what her process was to gain a following for her music she responded with applying pressure and being consistent on socials. She also emphasized being genuine with her content.

“I was just applying pressure. Posting every day, being consistent.[…] I post constantly no matter what I give it to ‘em raw.”

No fear, just confidence

Coi Leray’s rejection of fear for self-confidence accents her approach to her music with the coZ philosophy. She said in a New MVMT interview about her performance style,

“You can’t be scared yo. You can’t fear nothing but God. The only thing you can do is just go out there, sing your song and be you. At the end of the day, people are gonna say whether they like you or not.”


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🎥🍿😤🔥🔥🦋 sh*tENNNNNN MEEEEE ‼️🤯😈🧻🧻🧻🧻🧻

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Coi Leray went on to emphasize that she goes in with the confidence and belief that the crowd is going to like her and performs with that in mind.

Such positivity can remove inhibitions and allow you to be the best you can be without fear. And that’s what being coZ is all about.

YouTuber Tabitha Brown is paving a lane for black vegans everywhere

If you’ve been on any form of social media you might have peeped some uplifting videos by a lovely Black woman with a soothing voice encouraging you to live your best life. That queen is Tabitha Brown and she’s arguably the internet world’s favorite mom.

Some of Tabitha’s most wholesome content can be found on her TikTok, where she shares both uplifting messages and great vegan recipes.

You might also recognize Brown for her acting. She’s been in films such as Outrighteous, Jessica Sinclaire’s Thug Love, and All Between Us. She played Aunt Tammy in 2019’s Princess of the Row. 

She’s also had several guest star appearances on Freeform’s Switched at Birth, Bounce TV’s Family Time, and NBC’s Will & Grace.

She’s currently a Whole Foods brand ambassador and Vegan influencer. You can see some of her longer-form videos on her YouTube Channel, with segments like Very Good Mondays where she and her daughter Choyce Brown highlight small businesses.

She also has videos about veganism as a whole as well as some recipes on the Goodful YouTube channel.

In her video “Why I Went Vegan,” Brown explains that she had never met a Black vegan influencer when she was younger. So, she didn’t at the time consider it a lifestyle that she could adopt.

Being from Eden North Carolina, where she gets her recognizable southern accent, Brown shares that she ate all types of food including not so healthy meals.

Brown says that she suffered from chronic pain that lasted a year and seven months. The pain only subsided on day 10 of a vegan challenge she was doing with her family. Since then she’s been vegan and has felt a whole lot better.

But her message about veganism is not a stereotypical judgmental one.

“I always tell people whatever you decide, whether you tryna go vegan or pescatarian or you just tryna make better choices what is your ‘why’? And if your why is true to you, if it really means something to you, you’ll stick with it.”

While her YouTube videos are beautiful, where you really need Tabitha Brown is on your TL. The woman is a fountain of lovely self-care tips, helpful life insights, and an overall mood booster.

But as Tabitha Brown would tell you, you do what you want,

“Cause that’s your business.”


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Stop letting folks pull you out of your character! Love you❤️ #tabithabrown

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Darion Harris and Church Leon lighten the suffocating vibes with ‘Asthma’

Darion Harris’ latest release “Asthma” comes at a peculiar time. The song even refers to a “super virus” despite having been produced far before our pandemic began. I got the chance to talk to the artist and discuss his process, successes, future goals, and how he’s coping during this unique time.

Darion Harris has been on his music grind for a short time and has already managed to garner about 400k Spotify streams on his first project Soire. His talent and worth ethic have landed him the opportunity to open up for artists like A$AP Ferg and iLoveMakonnen.

Producer Turned Vocalist

I asked Harris what first got him into music and he explained that producing came first, before being a vocalist despite his initial desire to rap.

“I wanted to be a vocalist at first, but I didn’t like the beats that were being presented to me. Then I fell in love with producing on that front and then I was producing under Melo-X”

Under the tutelage of successful producer Melo-X whose roster of artists includes Beyoncé, Darion Harris became more comfortable as an artist by socializing with other artists. That gave him the push he needed to add being a vocalist to his craft, which was well received.

“I just started being fearless and like, doing whatever I thought was cool at the time.”

It did take some time for Harris to really put out music with his own vocals. Harris remembers a time when he was receiving positive feedback and encouragement from fellow artists that he respected. That was the turning point for him to start sharing his work with the world.

“Artists’ opinions that I valued told me that they thought my music was really good. And that I should just start putting it out.”

With encouraging encounters, Harris was no longer scared and became focused on trusting his instincts.

“For me, I would have felt more comfortable being behind the scenes, but sometimes you got to step out your comfort zone and take risks That’s the only way you’re gonna get anywhere.”


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It all started in our bedrooms … you can’t tell us nothin’💫💫 #legacies #soire

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Staying True to your Music

What surprised Harris about the process of creating music was the reception of the non-conventional.

At first, when he was solely a producer and working with artists, his beats were often deemed too unique to fit into the mainstream musical landscape. But once he started putting his own vocals onto his beats, the responses changed.

“People gravitated to my music and now more people reach out to me for that kind of stuff when it wasn’t really accepted before.”

In fact, Darion Harris started his own record label, titled “Soire Records” along with Melo-X while producing. The vibe of the label was centered on independent artists doing what felt most natural to them, creating genuine music.

“I started getting different types of artists to come in. We would lock-in and just make music that represented what we were going through at the time.”

Harris told me that the artists associated with the label were the kind of team that you could easily connect with, making the conception of Soire Records a natural process.

The focus on music that may generally be outside the mainstream or not accepted yet is confidence that Darion Harris attributes to his primary major influence; Donald Glover.

“It was more about what he represented when I was younger. Seeing someone who related to what I was going through and being fearless.”


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We don’t bang , we don’t hang with the competition 🤷🏽‍♀️🤷🏽‍♀️ #rapunzel #showertime

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 Inspo Behind Asthma

Fast forward to the release of “Asthma” and several other influences are obvious. The song is a bouncy, addictive, and carefree response to the expectations of others in Darion’s generation.

Darion told me his influences include Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, Pharell, and Danny Brown. The song has that same Brockhampton vibe of collaboration as Darion invites Church Leon to join him on the track.

While Harris claims to not be able to work a 9-5 job as he has “asthma” and is “allergic” to those that just go with the norm, the New Zealand rapper jumps in as if he is the “super-virus” here to take out the system.


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Losing my mind in quarantine 😭😭.. WHO’S READY?! ASTHMA OUT NOWWWW !!! #linkinbio #mindgames #spotify #applemusic #deezer #tidal

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The playful lyrics sound quite relevant in our current attempts to stay positive amid a global pandemic. But the song was created far before our current world came to be. Darion Harris walked me through how the song was conceived.

The inspiration would start with Harris hearing a friend playing a guitar loop. Having gone without sleep for about 24 hours, he was fully immersed in writing the song in his head. The gathering he’d shown up late too was at its end, but Harris stayed the night while others slept just to work on the song.

“I lay down two verses, and then I fall asleep. And then I woke up. I heard like a Jamaican verse. I’m like where does this come from? And then I kind of just sent it around to people. And they’re like, yeah, this is genius.”

Uniting Across the Seas

At the time, Harris was also listening to music outside of the United States, an often untapped and underappreciated collection of music. One of the artists he discovered was New Zealand’s Church & AP.

“I ran into Church & AP and they’re like super popping in New Zealand and we clicked like right away I reached out and then they were totally down and then they sent me back the verse and you know the rest is kind of history.”

The overall vibe Harris was going for was one that was worry-free with an emphasis on having a good time. He also released it now because he knew the world would appreciate some levity. He also wanted to showcase his range, considering his last release Black Kid, had a darker, more serious subject matter.

“I wanted to put out something that was super light and fun. It just so happened that the Coronavirus happened while I was trying to make that move with it, which is like really funny,”

The original track was completed over two years ago and the Church verse was sent in just four months before the virus broke out. An amusing tale on how fate ends up aligning with our actions.

Advice for fellow artists

I asked Harris what advice he would impart on his early artist self. His advice was to stay open to different processes and ways to make music. Harris explained that in the beginning, he assumed that you had to create music in a set way.

He’d heard that some artists write their lyrics before they ever really hear a melody. This was difficult for Harris to understand because he valued the mood and worried it may not fit in well with the lyrics. The Soire artist explained that he also used to put emphasis on the hook being the most important part of music to get done first.

After witnessing and delving into different ways of creating music Harris settled on an approach.

“Sometimes you’ll just have an idea. Put it down and just let everything flow naturally and be well rounded.”

Harris also mentioned the importance of staying true to your art, even if you feel like that’s not what people want to hear or see at that time. What’s important is that there’s a sincerity in the music, that others can recognize and appreciate.

“If you’re just being yourself and putting out products that are a product of you, they’re easier to digest and get into and relate.”

Quarantine Vibes

Harris also pointed out the importance of connecting with people who listen or are interested in your art, especially while we’re forced to social distance.

“Talk to different people… Talk with them about where they’re from and how they’re experiencing this.”


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2/24:Black royalty 👑 #rapunzel #blackhistorymonth

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Harris’ parting advice for creatives looking to start producing or start doing their own vocals and releasing their own original music was simple yet inspiring.

“I know there’s a pressure to do what is ‘more accepted, in terms of how you express yourself and what people want to hear. But my advice, I know it sounds kind of cliché, definitely just speak your mind and just be yourself. Tell your own story and I feel a lot more people will be able to relate. Just constantly work, grind.”

Stay inspired Kulture Hub fam, and while you do bump “Asthma” available on all major platforms.