Kelly Strayhorn Theater is presenting local leaders that have been changemakers in Pittsburgh. Mentors, teachers, artists— KST acknowledges these pioneers. This is Our Story: KST Recognizes Pittsburgh Changemakers.
Blak Rapp Madusa, Activist/Songwriter/Poet
What do you do for the community now and why is it important?
I don’t think about what I can do for the community, but more about what the community does for me. Although the Black community may be disenfranchised there is still something authentically beautiful about our resilience and survival. The work I do is inspired by the community and supported by it. For example, I write songs about oppression and poverty, an experience that all communities of color seem to endure. Most people of color support my work and hold me in spaces that pay homage to my craft.
What is one defining moment of your life?
One defining moment in my life is getting a full scholarship to go to college and then transferring to the University of Pittsburgh. I took so many African Studies classes that I had to change my major. It was this experience that began my work as an activist and an artist.
What advice do you have for youth that want to become a changemaker in their community?
My advice for youth is to be great! Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t great, because the creator of us all doesn’t make mistakes and has created us in greatness. We need to honor ourselves, our families and communities in order to reach the tip-top of our potential.
What is a song from your playlist? (a song that really motivates you?
My motivational song is Kendrick Lamar’s I love Myself.