Welcome, lovers of Esurient Arts!
Next in our Thriving Under Thirty Series designed to spotlight professionals under the age of 30 with a background in the arts or arts education, we are spotlighting the multifaceted Akilah Nehanda.
Who is Akilah Nehanda?
Rapper, singer, songwriter, fashionista and dedicated member of A Brighter Day music group, Nehanda is on the rise like never before. Akilah Nehanda is not afraid to speak on real life issues while making you dance.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas and a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC., this trail blazer has made her mark at several colleges and universities around the country opening with her first single "We Out Here" and several remixes to popular radio hits. She has performed in Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, California, and Texas.
With colorful music videos that she directs and edits herself, Akilah Nehanda is showing young girls and the masses that you can be vibrant, trendy, and fun while still being virtuous and righteous. She is currently on tour and has performed in Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, California, and Texas.
Ms. Nehanda is currently on tour, but we got a chance to interview her. Check it out below!
Esurient Arts: How has your background in the arts influenced your life?
Nehanda: Without having been exposed to art & music at such a young age I don't think I would be the type of healer i strive to be today. To me art /music is a ministry of love and going to a performing arts middle and high school have helped me understand & prepare for the responsibility that comes with such a ministry and gift.
Esurient Arts: Which skills learned from your education in the arts do you use in your current career?
Nehanda: I use the professionalism taught to me in high school. Be on time for gigs, practice before a gig, get into character by whatever methods work best for me. One thing i constantly am reminded of is that as an artist I must be aware that it’s not just about me. Music, theatre, dance is all about giving the audience a chance to experience a change within.
Esurient Arts: What challenges have you faced as a young professional?
Nehanda: Devoting the right amount of time toward my craft is always something I'm trying to improve on. It’s so important to spend as much time honing your skill as much as possible and with going to work to make money and doing activist work in the community sometimes I find myself needing to refocus my attention back on my passion, which is music and film.
Esurient Arts: What are your ultimate long term career and life goals?
Nehanda: My ultimate goal is to do my art full time for a living while inspiring people through my art to be themselves no matter what. As a Muslim female Rap/R&B artist, it would seem I have a lot against me with that label, while in truth, my uniqueness just means my lane is wide open for the taking. I wish everyone could have that type of attitude when they feel they are not a cookie cutter image in whatever field they are striving to thrive in. Their difference is their asset! I pray that I became a major player in music so that the world can see how the "unconventionals" can rise and thrive in pop culture as well!
Here are some of her latest music videos:
Rihanna Remix https://youtu.be/i8n-9F2vg5w
No Clue https://youtu.be/gdD8JpEM9BI
We Out Here https://youtu.be/1PNRo9oSH1M
Well Made Man https://youtu.be/qrR1nS4xq5E
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