What I Learned From Doing 75 Interviews for Community During Chaos
This year was perhaps the craziest year of our lives we’ve ever had or ever will have. When COVID took the world by storm and then a short while later, the death of George Floyd sparked a movement through the pandemic, I knew it was time to talk about it.
What initially started as a few special news show episodes where I focused on community and difference-making, quickly turned into the idea of a weekly forum to discuss society’s woes, uncertainty, racial tension, sickness, and leadership. We were a Community During Chaos and we would seemingly be living through this tension for the foreseeable future.
I launched the Community During Chaos weekly show on June 8th with my guests being Angie Rose, Rockstar JT, and Cutright. The idea was to bring together the CHH community on the Rapzilla platform to house this important dialogue. I wanted men and women, black/white/Hispanic/Asian/etc, large platform or small platform to be involved with these talks. I also wanted people in the comments to ask questions as well.
Over the next 25 Monday’s straight I hosted 75 guests. Each one of these people afforded the viewers and me a chance to take a walk in their shoes of what their experiences were like in 2020.
Sometimes everyone in the conversation agreed, other times there were disagreements, and sometimes we were left with more questions than answers. However, every episode was a chance to learn from someone not like YOU or ME.
It was awe-inducing to hear people’s first-hand accounts of racism, brutality, and struggle. We all grieved together when someone described the pain of losing a family member or friend to COVID. We all celebrated the victories and successes despite a tough year, and all thanked God for the safety and comfort found in the family for those privileged enough to have that.
One of the constant talking points of the show was that despite everything happening around us, everyone I spoke to had a sense of hope and urgency to do their part where they could.
Many artists ventured out into their communities for the first time to help feed those less fortunate. Others showed up to protests to support community efforts of solidarity. It was beautiful to hear all of these stories weekly and be inspired on how to be leaders and great stewards of the faith.
Some of the older artists encouraged and shared from experiences while some of the younger artists lit fires with their passion to be the future of tomorrow.
There is so much talk of the Christian Rap community being cliquish and segregated, yet every episode I found most of us to all be on the same page. We all have the same loves, fears, struggles, and drive to do our best whenever we can. It was refreshing. Also, you would think I’m running low on who to speak to with such a “small” community, but the fact of the matter is, 75 was just scratching the surface.
I also personally learned that it’s not scary to have tough conversations. The gravity of what is being talked about far outweighs any hesitation to ask something impactful. As long as you approach everyone’s story with respect and care, most people will talk to you about almost anything.
In addition, I really learned how to stretch my abilities having to prepare for, plot, and plan for three interviews every Monday without missing a date. It provided me many challenges, most of the time I was left drained, but for sure, I was always blown away by the convos.
Community During Chaos will be back for season two at some point next year. It may look a little different, the chaos may have changed, but the community will still be there. And the future of CHH looks so positive and bright despite what naysayers may claim.
So with that being said, I want to thank all the guests I had this season. I want to thank you all for opening up your hearts, dreams, and fears with so many, and for allowing me to tell these stories. All of these episodes can be found on Rapzilla’s Instagram and at the time of this writing, 22 of those episodes are up on YouTube with the rest coming soon.
The following is a list of some of the speakers that resonated most with me: Ruslan, Canon, Tee Wyla, Dee-1, KB, Reconcile, Bri Smilez, J. Crum, Corey Paul, Mogli the Iceburg, Dru Bex, Marty, Limoblaze, Thi’sl, Fern, Thomas Iannucci, & Jeannie Ortega.