It is not rare, in modern times, for people to act without any real consideration of how their actions may influence or affect others. Perhaps this has always been the case. As a spoken word poet and rapper, I feel it is extremely important to consider the impact of my words and the way in which I use my influence. I'm now wondering do we, in general, take enough time to consider the way that we influence others. Do you?
Looking at the UK hip hop and spoken word poetry scenes, there are clearly some great examples of individuals who are using their positions of influence in a positive way. From people like Amera Saleh and Guvna B, who share heartfelt messages, that are positive and progressive in their nature to people like Akala and Suli Breaks, who are not only positive but often educational; challenging their listeners to think deeper. These, like so many other individuals who engage in these art forms, are influential people, and I would suggest, based on the work that they produce and share that they are positive people. Whether they stop and think about it or not (and I think they do), these individuals enlighten and enhance the people who listen to them.
With my new music project 'Progression' I have tried to be very conscious and aware at all times of the impact that my music will have and the way it could potentially influence those who may listen. I aim to provide people from inner city backgrounds, like mine, with some hope and reasons to believe that are powerful enough to be and engineer the change that they want to see in the world. Along with this I want to give people from outside of that community an insight into what these people are struggling with on a day to day basis. The first release of the project 'Walk In' is the introduction and sets the scene for what is to come. Even in the filming of the video, the director Robert W Lawrence was clear that we wanted the visual to represent the song, without distracting from the message. Once again we were considering the way we were going to influence our audience.
The need to consider ones influence goes beyond music, poetry and beyond any art form. It is my experience that the burden of promoting positivity and reflection is sometimes found on the shoulders of artists and organizations who have their foundations in art. Organizations like Beatfreeks are filled with individuals and have a structural set up, that push positive change and progression, but it is essential that we all play our part. Even those of us who do not see the influence that we hold are probably influential to somebody, somewhere; so please, before you act, think about how your actions will influence others. The question 'how do you use your influence?' Is a question we should all consider, whether an artist, a teacher, a politician or any other human being, think about it.