I’ve written a great deal about the Kheprw Institute (KI), who has partnered with North Meadow Circle of Friends on the AFSC program, Quaker Social Change Ministry. In this article that was published in NUVO magazine, Diop Adisa talks about his music, and about the influence of his father, Imhotep Adisa. Diop has become a good friend of mine. We’ve had numerous conversations about music and photography.
The following is from an email exchange we had in January, 2016.
I hope you are well. I’m writing for a couple of reasons. One is that I’ve been suggesting that some of the folks at the Quaker meeting, North Meadow, who are interested in what’s going on at KI might
listen to (buy!) your music.
As you know, I really like “YardWork”, especially.
Do you have the lyrics written down somewhere for
it, since I’m having trouble making out some of the words just by listening, that you could send me?
You don’t object to us using your work this way, do you? Are there other songs you might recommend?
Have you written in a blog or anything about the what prompted you to write this song, or what it means to you?
Please don’t go to any trouble with any of this.
It’s just that there are a lot of Quakers, 99% of whom
are white, that are truly interested in learning more about these things, and just don’t know how to go about it. Since music is a universal language, I was hoping this might somehow help them.
Unfortunately I don’t have the lyrics written down anywhere, but I can write them down at some point and send them to you.
I definitely don’t object to you all using my work in this way. I created it to provoke critical thoughts and dialogue, so feel free to use any of my material.
I haven’t written in a blog about what prompted me to write YardWork but i probably should at some point. I would recommend “Decay Day” “The Error Era” & “Driving On Faith” http://dioooop.bandcamp.com/album/driving-on-faith
Also I did a 3 song collaboration with two other artists called synergy in exile which has some pretty good thought provoking material on it as well. https://synergyinexile.bandcamp.com/releases
I just saw the documentary Still Shinin about and by Diop. I think it is excellent and highly recommend it.
Still Shinin’: When Creativity Meets Vulnerability by Khaila King, Pattern, August 30, 2019
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Menelik Diop Adisa, popularly known as Diop, is a community based activist and hip hop artist fueled by social and Black consciousness. As the son of two entrepreneurs and the founders of The Kheprw Institute, community building, activism and creative stimulation have not been unfamiliar to him. The release of his 2018 album Still Shinin’ was not only evidence of his range as an artist and a producer, but it also gave his audience a glimpse of his reality leaving an impact on others in need of healing.
With the help of the Create Indy Grant and a team of visionaries including Keenan Rhodes and Jamil Buchan, Diop was able to develop a visual piece aligning with the central themes of his album. Incorporating interviews from various Indiana based artists including Willis, Baby Ebony and Kid, the documentary not only serves as a marker of the innovation and creativity that exists behind the Indianapolis Hip-Hop scene, but also as a means to encourage open dialogue about pain and trauma in a community whose struggle is often overlooked.
actually the phrase istranscript of interview of Diop
when you and your community can create its own
shine there’s nothing beyond reach
thank you and that’s basically just about
empowerment and continually investing
if you invest in yourself and you invest
in your community then you always put
yourself in a position to thrive and
grow and I think that’s what’s still
shining means and for me creating this
album was a form of healing and
transferring trauma I’m tied to the
things I was experiencing and I felt
like if I could take the trauma and the
difficulties of my life and pour them
into my artistic passion then I’m taking
this energy and investing it back into
myself which is then creating more
opportunity for me and the people are
representing connected to the shine so I
felt like it was only applicable to name
the album that because it came out of
that experience and then another thing
is I wanted people to if they heard it
and embodied it themselves if they took
the words on for themselves it would
make them feel empowered it would make
them feel like they should continue to
live continue to grow and continue to