Chicago—Although he maintains a rigorous schedule as a platinum recording aritst, R&B singer Musiq Soulchild is also a humanitarian and activist who believes that giving back is as simple as doing unto others as you would have them to do unto you. During a recent stop in Chicago, he took the time to address violence and other issues affecting Black communities nationally.
After a busy day, which included a meet and greet with fans, followed by a concert, the Philadelphia native continued to selflessly give his time and energy by engaging in a discussion with the infamous community forum Urban Dialog with Suzette Wright. The theme for the night was saving our communities one living room at a time. "They are role models whether they want to be or not," Wright told BET.com. "When celebrities say it, the audience listens. I thought Musiq was perfect for that. It's something I knew that he was passionate about as well."
The 6-year-old brainchild of Wright, Urban Dialog is a live chat where a diverse group of people come together to share thoughts, experiences and ideologies. From a humble beginning in Wright's personal living room, the forum now meets bi-weekly at the Living Room Lounge in the city's Pilsen neighborhood, and began to stream live at urbandialog.com on July 28.
The event allowed the humble singer a moment to interact with the public to share ideas on solutions to the issues in black communities. Musiq weighed in on the string of shootings that have plagued Chigago throughout the year.
"Hopefully, before flying off the handle, just listen," Musiq offered. "I would urge people to just think about what you're doing."
The arts have historically proven to work as a successful alternative for at-risk youths to escape violence. As a person who discovered his gifts through singing and performing, Musiq stresses the importance of the arts as a way for children to expand their horizons. “I'm really interested in advocating for the importance of the arts in the communities, not simply because it's possible for you to get rich off of being creative, but moreso because of what those things contribute to your life as a person,” he said. “You don't have to necessarily pursue the arts, but just by incorporating some type of creativity in your life, it changes you as a person. You just see life and you see the world different."
Nostalgically speaking of the classic soul era of the '60s and '70s, when social consciousness was brought to the mainstream through popular recording artists such as Marvin Gaye and James Brown, Wright made note that Musiq carries the torch to have that sentiment stand out in today's musical landscape. "He is one of those artists," Wright said. "So hopefully we get artists like Musiq Soulchild and other celebrities interested and invested in making our communities better."
Photo Courtesy of Sean Evans