Jessica Disu, who describes herself as a Humanitarian Rap Artist and goes by FM Supreme, spoke at the 35th gathering of the Chicago chapter of CreativeMornings. Disu’s speech focused on “Chance”—CreativeMornings’ global theme for November 2014 and a crucial element driving her work. Her path included this trajectory: floating in darkness, seeing the light, seizing it, and spreading it. Disu—who she was, who she became—served metaphorically as a mirror, reflecting the human struggle to not live in oblivion.
Disu told of being in a dark place, provoked by a voice in her head. It was depression. An experience that helped Disu face this negative voice and give it a brute-force command to “step off” was a professor, at Harold Washington College, who instructed, “You have to keep moving, no matter what happens. Whatever you are going to do, do it seriously. Because you owe it to yourself.” This teacher’s voice of encouragement greatly helped Disu fight her depression. It was a timely spark for Disu, who did keep moving. By chance, she was asked to host and perform her music at a youth peace rally. The nature and timing of the request piqued her curiosity and motivated her to participate, something she may not have considered in her depressive state. This event actually proved eventful for Disu. It steered her to find her voice. She said, “My purpose is to lift up the voices of young people.” Since then, she has used and advanced her voice—through language and song—to positively influence generations of the young all over the world.
Children, adolescents, and teenagers all represent an opportunity for listening and guidance. Disu’s application of her art also reminded me of another CreativeMornings talk by Vanessa German, a mixed-media artist who is making her moves to positively influence the young of her local community in Pittsburgh. Like Disu, German’s tool is her voice, boldly used in her spoken-word performances. From German’s talk, the following declaration is aligned to Disu’s mission:
“Someday, somewhere, somehow, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chains of hate and evil and violence in this universe, and love is the only way you can do that!”Disu is a champion of love. Her talk was charged with metaphors: she was a supernova radiating positive energy, the audience were vessels filled up with positive messages, and the auditorium acted as a particle collider detecting positive waves.
Shakespeare dubbed the world “a stage,” and Disu took this metaphor to the max. She concluded her talk with a performance of one of her rap-songs. Through her speaking and rapping, she emphasized belief in oneself and others. In this sense, her stage was the audience’s stage.
The start of a positive legacy owes a tremendous part to people like Disu’s former school teacher who gave her the life-altering advice to “keep moving.” This person inspired progress. The author Milan Kundera wrote, “A single metaphor can give birth to love.” Disu’s teacher was a candle in the dark place of her life. Disu’s teacher happened to act as the “single metaphor” that enabled the birth of her calling. Disu’s teacher believed in her, which inspired her to believe in herself—and doing so, again.
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“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did.
But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
—Maya Angelou, Poet, Civil Rights Activist
• • •Big thanks: to Morningstar—for hosting— Basecamp, and Gorilla Group, for sponsoring Chicago CreativeMornings #35; to organizer Kim Knoll and operations manager Kyle Eertmoed of Knoed Creative, who spoke at Chicago CreativeMornings #7, and to the Chicago CreativeMornings crew—Miguel Diaz, Benjamin Derico, Talia Eisenberg, Chris Gallevo, Keith Mandley, all—for their volunteer work in making CreativeMornings happen in Chicago.
Read more about the people who make the Chicago chapter of CreativeMornings possible.
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2011 was Chicago CreativeMornings’ debut year. Download the entire collection of selected insights.
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