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“No Matter Who You Are or What You Identify As, Self-Acceptance Comes First,” Says Portland Musician Rasheed Jamal

"Being an artist has given me the unique opportunity to connect with people from different walks of life."

Rasheed Jamal

Has your status as a musician with a platform affected how you look at issues in the community?

Being an artist has given me the unique opportunity to connect with people from different walks of life. I've crossed paths with a lot of interesting people who have added to my perspective and challenged me to see more than what meets the eye. As far as issues within communities, I feel like everyone has a battle they are fighting. Scarface has a line in one of his albums that says, "You're either in a storm, walking into a storm, or coming out of a storm." I believe that's a quote from J. Prince.

All that to say, I'm more open-minded to people's feelings about what they believe in. At the same time, it's about having knowledge of self. Everybody doesn't have to care about what you are passionate about. That's a loaded statement for this era, but it takes compassion to understand that and embrace that concept. No matter who you are or what you identify as, self-acceptance comes first.

What has been the biggest community resource that has shaped your viewpoints and who you are today?

I'm a pretty reclusive person, so I can't say I've been a part of a Portland collective outside of my circle of friends and family that have shaped my mindset. That may not be true for others, but I'm an introverted social butterfly. I feel like tapping into the artsy culture of Portland has helped me bring out more of my eccentricity in my art.