Her name is Jaylin Paschal. And she is a cultural powerhouse. Her offerings and in depth critiques on contemporary issues pertaining to the black community find life and legs on her blog Creative Liberation. In constructing her creative profile, I found a few things that contributes to her vision. The meeting place was Joint Custody Records, on the famed D.C. throughway of U Street. A record store that doubles as a thrift clothier, Joint Custody has been one of my favorite places to visit since moving to Washington D.C. As we browsed through vinyls we covered topics ranging from Outkast, politics, diversity in America and a number of other topics. Age is no barometer for the amount of issues, contemporary and historic, she can offer a nuanced response to. Her informed perspective shows in her writing and overall personality as well. Here are some of the main topics we touched on.
CREATIVE VISION LIBERATION.
Is Hip-Hop just a euphemism for a new religion?
After a few questions establishing some background (she reps Ohio), I asked her to explain a quote from Kanye West about hip-hop and religion. She had placed the quote as the title of one of her posts, “Is Hip-Hop just a euphemism for a new religion?” This question opened up a quite frank dialogue about how in contemporary times it feels people will follow the words of their favorite rapper more than of a preacher or priest. And it shows in their everyday behavior. Many teenagers will buy a ticket to a rap concert before considering attending church on Sunday. We made the connection between hyper dedicated Kanye stans being the virtual equivalent to daily mass attendees, a comparison that when looked at closely reveals many similarities. Long lines at pop up shops and appearances, to the nearly always sold out concert performances is equidistant to when the Pope arrives in any country he visits around the world. We pointed out the fact that one of the main features of a religious gathering is music. Processions begin, end, and are interjected with music selections, especially in the black church. There can be many parallels drawn between the feelings created by rappers on stage and preachers in the pulpit.
The Soul Connection
Vinyls are portals to a previous time where music consumption had a tactile element. You got to feel the record in your hand before you listened, adding another sensory element to your consumption. We discussed how hip-hop producers used the art form of sampling to make the old new again. Many golden era hip hop records, and then beginning again with Kanye West in the early 2000’s, sampled 60’s and 70’s era soul records. Pieces of the past are repurposed for a new generation adding new meaning to the original record. A practice that should be repeated by all hip hop listeners but especially by avid fans is to not only listen to a record but to research and listen to the song(s) that are being sampled as well. It helps you see both records, hip hop and soul, from another angle. Jaylin touched on how this process of deeply researching her favorite records informs her writing and how both processes make Creative Liberation what it is. Sampling goes further than music and her blog is evidence of this statement. In her original works, Jaylin has the ability to summon the emotion of say an impassioned civil rights leader but places her work in a context where a millennial can reach and consume it. This talent without a doubt stems from herself being in the target market that her blog reaches, but it would not be possible without her understanding and appreciation of practices such as sampling. Standing on the shoulders of those who came before her, Jaylin can speak without preaching and connect without sacrificing her natural journalistic instinct.
There goes the saying there is nothing new under the sun but there are things that need to be put together that previous haven’t been. Creative Liberation, as a publication, does a considerable job at this. A case in point is the article, “A Comparative Analysis of To Kill a Mockingbird & To Pimp a Butterfly.” It takes two seemingly wholly different works, both deemed a “classic” in their respective fields, and places them in the same context of “exploited black bodies”. Making connections also affect your vision. The connections you make in your world should be yours to make. Each connection is part of your private vision. Do not fall victim to having your eyes wide open, and not seeing things that if placed together, will yield even better results or provide deeper insights.
“Hold on Be Strong”
So what is next for Creative Liberation? The blog has a quality of writing that could be picked up as a column in a popular magazine or better yet to span into a completely self sufficient brand/publication. And it can accomplish this now. The passion cannot be questioned. To live and die by hip hop is not impossible. You can be wholly committed to hip hop and it can be wholly committed to you, if you are willing to make the sacrifices. Apple News has seen the same qualities by picking up the blog to be featured on their app on every Apple iPhone and iPad. With this kind of start it truly begs the question, since the ceiling is the roof, how far into the stars could Creative Liberation go?
“Worldview through a viewfinder.”