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Contributor Spotlight: Aniefre Essien

Why is writing important to you?
I spend a lot of time reflecting on life and pondering its meaning. I’m big on “how” you think about something, i.e. the filter you use, will determine how you understand it. That said, I like sharing ideas to help refine how I, and people who read my work, filter what we experience in the world.

What keeps you busy when you’re not writing?
The constant in my life is music. When I’m driving, working out, writing, or working, music is playing. From Hip Hop to Afro-Brazilian to Jazz, music enhances most moments in my life. I’m also somewhat of a wine connoisseur and foodie.

What piece are you most proud of and why?
Volume 4 of the Music for the Rest of Us series, What Does it Mean to be an Emcee. I love that piece for so many reasons, but the one that rises to the top is it helped me distill my passion on the topic into a clear point of view. Hip Hop belongs to the hood, and in that piece I felt I put forth an argument that empowers us to keep/defend our art form.

What book or books have most influenced your thinking or writing?
There are three books that I think all black people should read (in this order): The Cultural Unity of Black Africa by Cheikh Anta Diop, The Destruction of Black Civilization by Chancellor Williams, and the Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley. Diop explains the black world view, prior to our global oppression; Williams explains how we became globally oppressed; Malcolm X explains how we can get free.

Who is your favorite writer or author? Where should people start if they want to read this person’s best work?
My favorite writer is Ice Cube (for real). His early albums are the foundation of my love for Hip Hop. If you aren’t intimately familiar with early Ice Cube, or haven’t given his early work a good listen in a while, I strongly recommend that you listen to both Amerikkka’s Most Wanted and Death Certificate. You’d be amazed at how relevant and insightful his writing still is.

Where can our audience find out more about you?
Check out vaytus.com to learn more about my love of music, and the app I’m developing with a group of Hip Hop heads for the love of the culture.

Anything else?
Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your character. Master your thoughts.

More from Aniefre on Abernathy:

By Aniefre Essien

Aniefre is a Los Angeles native with varied interests ranging from the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira to an undying love of Lakers basketball, even in the lean years. He's an alum of both San Francisco State University (BS) and the University of Michigan (MBA), and is a firm believer in education as its own reward.