Photo courtesy of Va$htie and Puma
Written by Mike Orie of TheConsciousTip.com
If you follow Vashtie on any form of social media, you probably know her to be one of the sweetest entertainer's you'll probably meet. But even the DJ/filmmaker/designer dubbed Downtown's Sweetheart has reached a breaking point herself. Usually very quite on current affairs, even Va$htie reached a point in which she realized it was time to speak up against injustices. Last week the New York native premiered her new mixtape, "This Machine Kills Racism" during a live Periscope broadcast for over 1,200 live streamers. The 30-minute project features music ranging from Nina Simone and Michael Jackson to Joey Bada$$ speaking out on police brutality. Here's what Va$htie had to say below about what sparked the release of her new project.
Give the project a listen below and share any moments that may have touched you personally. I’ve been feeling this way for a while now, but, the incidents that surfaced in the past week have had me feeling these emotions (and more) to the maximum.
Yet, I can’t decide which is worse. The disturbing witnessing of these acts alone or the crippling inability to stop it? It’s like watching… oh wait. I was going to say it’s like watching someone being hurt and not being able to help.
Shameful, because I am literally watching people being murdered and I can’t stop it. It’s like I’m half-dead, because how do I continue to live my life with constant news of people being killed every day. On one hand – how do you go to work or enjoy dinner with friends like normal, when the world you once knew has disintegrated. Then on the other hand, you are enjoying life for a moment, posting a selfie with your baby niece on Instagram you’re met with a video of a man being killed on your popular page. Enter, Guilt. Not wanting to revel in the joys of my life and then when I do – it’s stolen and I feel bad for enjoying a life that someone else has just lost.
Whether you can identify with these feelings or not, the effects from these events are truly impairing the world around us.
I didn’t post much on social media in regards to this because I needed to sit with my feelings. I understand the power in showing solidarity on social media, but I think sometimes it can give the false sense of accomplishing something for the cause. And, as an artist – I really wanted to create something for people in a more meaningful manner than in a few passionate, 140 character Tweets.
In sitting with my feelings, I found myself asking “When will our beloved musicians and celebrities DO SOMETHING?”Maybe that something could be to make music, cancel tour dates or even hold a sit-in at Hollywood Studios. But then, I wondered why I was waiting on others or forcing responsibility in their hands? I had to ask myself , “What was I going to do?”I decided to make a mixtape."
Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website www.theconscioustip.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie