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WITF Music: Sir Dominique Jordan

Community, creativity, integrity, responsibility.

  • Joe Ulrich
Sir Dominque Jordan (Jeremy Long - WITF)

 Jeremy Long / WITF

Sir Dominque Jordan (Jeremy Long - WITF)

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Lancaster rapper, artist and social activist Sir Dominique Jordan uses the words “artivism” and “artivist” to describe his work in which art and activism are inextricably linked. He founded Artivist Corp. (formerly True2You) which has launched projects like BlockRite which helped beautify city streets. He does spoken word. He mentors. And he recently released his album The Prolific One. He and his band, The Prolific Steppas, piled into our studio for an inspiring performance and conversation.

Musical inspiration: “Growing up I was always really inspired by the Nas’s, the Tupacs, Mos Defs, the Commons. They always had this very conscious message. Nowadays, we got the J. Coles and we got these other new and upcoming artists that are kind of weaving the two worlds together.

The song “Right Now”: “‘Right Now’ is my intro song. It was the first song that I ever released. And, originally I just created it to inspire some of the young people that I work with, some of the mentees that I work with, and even my own sons. My oldest son, he’s five years old, his name is Dominique, and we try to use that affirmation on a regular basis. “I can, I will, but when? Right now.” I’m very intentional about language, the power of words. So those affirmations have helped changed my life.”

The song “Self Care”: “In this world where, especially since the pandemic, where a lot of people are still walking around with all this baggage and all this trauma, we have to do some type of preventative maintenance. The proactive approach is the best way to be able accomplish any goal. So taking care of yourself, not just when things are going bad, but when things are going great, and giving yourself an opportunity or a break to be able to really settle, and align yourself. It’s definitely changed my life and the people around me.”

Artivism: “It’s definitely not a term that I founded or anything like that. It’s just a term that, as soon as I heard it, it really inspired me and unlocked something inside of me … It is more recent that I started identifying as a musician. When people ask me like, ‘Hey, are you an artist?’ I don’t like to identify as an artist. I like to identify as an artvist, you know, planting seeds to help the world breathe. Being very intentional about creating an impact with the things that I’m saying and I’m producing because this stuff is gonna live a lot longer than I’m gonna live.”

Mental health: “It’s really difficult being a young black man in America today, any day, but definitely today. I was also in the military at a really young age. I was a mortician, a mortuary affairs specialist. I didn’t realize how much of that I still carried with me. Abuse growing up. I still deal with them on a regular basis. You can’t just eliminate PTSD, depression, anxiety. You gotta cope with those things and you could do it in a negative way or a positive way. So my music and my poetry is the way for me to build and hopefully plant seeds to inspire someone else.”

Involvement in mentorship: “I have two sons, and one’s five, one’s about to be two. When I was their age, I was not listening to anyone, especially, at least not my parents … So I was listening to others around me that had a huge influence. And those are the kids that I try to reach through my mentorship program because they’re going to lead my kids.”

Artivist Corp.: “It’s all about providing young people with the mentorship and the skills to be successful in a creative outlet. We try to equip them with the tools and some type of mentor that gets into that avenue or that space that’s a professional.

We have this program called the BlockRite program. We host these neighborhood cleanups, and we try to be intentional about inviting kids, inviting educators, inviting local creatives as well as neighbors and creating these bridges of community, creativity, integrity, responsibility. And that’s all based around service.”

Problems in education: “For starters, we lack representation. A lot of the young people that look like me don’t have an adult or positive mentor in those buildings that look like them. And then after that, it’s the curriculum. Right now, we’re developing this hip-hop curriculum with Millersville University and the PA Council on the Arts, and it’s very transformative.”

The takeaway from his music: “Honestly, I just want people to feel valued. I want them to feel seen, and I want them to know that whatever they set their minds to, they can accomplish it. All it takes is just a little bit of dedication, a little bit of patience, and aligning yourselves with like-minded individuals that really believe in you and wanna see you win. You’re not as bad as your worst days and you’re not as great as those best days. You’re somewhere in the middle and you gotta find peace with that.”

Miscellaneous question: Any pets? “I got two turtles at the crib. I let my son name ’em. One’s name is Michael Jordan and one’s name’s LeBron James. Them guys as slow as dirt. They can’t dunk nothing.”

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