All Sides… For The Culture: “Hated” (Official Video) by Jacobi Ryan | @Nothin2Much

Week 6 of the #52in365 #FormerlyFresh campaign ain’t done yet – the creative vault is building every week. Earlier today, Jacobi Ryan dropped some dope visuals for his latest weekly single “Hated”. In the visuals, Jacobi keeps things simple and allows the multitude of powerful messages on racism and religion on the track to come through which are primarily drawn from his own personal experiences (i.e. his mixed heritage). Having mixed relatives myself, after previewing the track I was curious about some of Jacobi’s own experience with learning to embrace both sides of his cultures especially, when there are so many negative forces or lack of knowledge, that influences might not always strike a positive cord with one’s thinking. Aside from my relatives, I can event attest to an experience where, like Jacobi mentions below the “American propaganda machine” had me believing a certain perception growing up about my people – and my 12th grade teacher had to humble me. My curiosity, led to a discussion, which lead to an impromptu Q &A about growing up balancing his white and his black side and more importantly coming to the realization that one doesn’t know everything there is to know about their own race… Read on.

Q: How long did it take you to find balance with identifying with both your white side and African-American side?

A: “…it took awhile, I don’t think there’s ever an end with anybody really considering we’re all the same essentially. I think it’s just as hard for everyone to come to terms with that. Identity issues… I do remember realizing around the time of the Mike Brown murder that all my life my entire identity was based on slavery. Like, that’s all I knew about my history and that subconsciously manifested as self hate via arrogance & ignorant rebelliousness as a teenager and young man. Careless really. When I realized the institution/system I was supposed to trust to have my best interests only taught me my history was a slave, a lot of things came full circle. I don’t know if that answered your question but I hope it helped…

Q: Wow, yes it does answer part of my question. How were you able to merge both parts of your heritage into something healthy… IF you ever felt that way? Like, you spoke on how one side of your family enslaved the other. Where BOTH sides ever a factor before you realized that you were only being taught one perspective – slavery as a black person, yet you are black and white? For example, I have a relative that is of mixed heritage, I observed, that he always seemed to point out negative behaviors in black people, like his other side was better (he never pointed out such things about his other side) BUT, there are things he experienced that might contribute to his thinking – like lack of maturity, not having healthy discussions about his perceptions. I’m not saying you share his perspective, just using him as an example of how someone who was challenged trying to embrace both sides of his heritage…

A: Damn yo’. Nah, I never struggled with that to that extent. I did a little bit when I was subscribed to status quo & unaware of mass incarceration, war on drugs, & the specific things America had done to put black people & minorities in general in the traumatic states there in now that people call out as if it doesn’t have deeply rooted traumas politically & consciously imposed by the same people who push the narrative. I was just ignorant. Mike Brown forced me to find answers and look closer. Books like “New Jim Crow”, “Between The World & Me” and movies like “13”, “Freedom Writers” and “Fruitvale Station”. I was just unaware & brainwashed really by the American propaganda machine.

Q: But of all the people who have died at the hands of the police/police brutality or due to hate crimes, what made Mike Brown’s tragic death resonate with you more than others?

A: I think it was just the timing. I’d just graduated, moved to OKC & didn’t know anyone and was just getting started in my purpose as far as doing shows and really taking the craft serious. I was really ambitious but lost at the same time and just wanted truth. A lot bubbled though when that happened, it kept me up plenty nights. I was so angry, but didn’t know how to channel it productively. It forced me to find the answers to the questions I have as opposed to relying on what makes me comfortable or any answer somebody else could give me. Before that, I was all basketball and tuned a lot of reality out because of the privilege that came with being a black athlete. I think once that was stripped and I got back to how the world is, I had to make something shake. Trayvon Martin bugged me too, but I wasn’t forced to cope with it like I was with Mike Brown for some reason…

As with his songs, you already know Jacobi has a lot more on his mind regarding these topics, but his insight really opened up my eyes. What, I learned from this short discussion is that the journey to being (not fake) woke and being aware is a process and we sometimes have to be patient with our brothers and sisters on their journeys to get there. Alright, that discussion was both insightful and needed and so are these visuals for “Hated”… Watch and absorb. Y’all enjoy!

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