Interview: ARI MATSUOKA
Date of interview: 14 July, 2020
New York, where divisions and disparities were revealed by the Coronal Eruption. We interviewed him about the current situation in the city.
Q1 Could you tell us, where are you from?
I’m from Mt. Vernon , New York .
Q2 Just recently, New York City lifted its three month lasting “Corona virus” lockdown order. What do the people feel and how do the the streets in New York look like during the mass demonstrations?
Could you also explain, what the term “curfew” means?
I feel like the majority of the people feel like the lockdown is a distraction that everything is quote on quote “back to normal” in general and no one is taking precaution. During these times it doesn’t change the fact black people are being killed, and its shifting people’s minds. The fact that people are protesting and speaking out are the ones on the front line and putting their safety at risk .The curfew was more to diminish the ones from speaking out and doing what has to be done to see the change that we deserve.
Q3 Do you feel any differences between the people taking part in the morning protests and those, who start demonstrating at night?
The only difference is that the am protest is more peaceful and more chill, and the night time ones they are those more seen, because it’s rush hour time and everyone is actually being seen & heard. I believe that we need both (looters & protesters) because we do need both to get our point across. & demand what is right.
Q4 Do you think there is discrimination in NYC? Not only limited to racial discrimination but also sexual, religious or political discrimination.
Yes of course !
Q5 Personally, I do not like the term “people of color”. People, under no circumstances should be treated differently because of their skin color.
What do you think is the reason, the american protest against racial discrimination heated up and got so violent?
Because people are tired! We are tired of the same shit… but if you want to say quote on quote Americans of any ethnicity, everyone is tired of what’s going and those that are protesting are aware that black people are continuously being killed for being black. While I protesting I thought of how would my life be if I was different because I feel like no one will ever understand or feel what a black person feels in America.
Q6 In which way did the NYC lockdown influenced your activities as a musician and artist?
In a negative way it puts me in a stay of mind where this is the shit that I heard from older family members and friends and now as a 30 year old black man in America, it’s crazy how I’m seeing the same thing but it’s like two steps forward and two steps back. It’s a continuous cycle. Slavery has never ended and how the school has never stated facts about how slavery hasn’t ended. Like people need to stop mentioning about 400 years ago let talk about The facts about how 50 years ago, which may sound as long but isn’t the same thing has been happening. Black were restricted from white owned places. Black not being able to even speak to a white person without being precarious.
It helped me push the message more because since I started making music my message has been all about what is happening in the present times.
I’ve learned by listening to some of my favorite artists like: Nas, public enemy, Mos Def, prodigy, Krs-one-, ab-soul, CAPITAL STEEZ, Tupac & many more. So once I knew it was like minded people that understood and had a vision of the things I felt and thought, I went harder with my message.
Q7 One day, I watched an american demonstration on TV. The protestors demonstrated not with vandalism and violence, but with music and dance, as they supported a peaceful way to solve the problems.
What message do you want deliver through your music during the demonstrations? Do you think the recent events changed you?
No, I believe my message as being the same. The only that has changed me is being more comfortable with making the music that I make. Back then people would question why I was doing what I was doing which made me feel like I had to stop speaking to them and surrounding myself with those kind of people.
Q8 What is the reason behind your decision, to keep on being active in NYC? What fascinates you you most in NYC?
What keeps me active is like the daily reminder of my message.
Q9 Racial discrimination, the virus lockdown…seems like 2020 lets us think about borders. What do you feel and think when you see the term “BORDER”?
I feel separation.
Q10 Last but not least, do you intend to stay in NYC and continue being active there?
Yes most definitely.
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