Tag Archives: Music

The Pandemic Turned a Neighborhood Cafe Into Columbia City’s Only Record Store

by Mark Van Streefkerk


Like many other cafes, Columbia City’s Empire Roasters and Records had to make some changes in order to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. While some coffee shops expanded their offerings to include grocery items or wines during lockdown, Empire went a different direction. Owner Ian Peters repurposed the cafe’s upstairs seating area into a record shop, which opened last November. Adding a record store to a cafe might have been an unconventional choice, but based on the positive community response, Columbia City’s only record store is here to stay. 

“We would have never come up with this idea had it not been for the pandemic,” Peters said. 

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Kristin Leong’s #AZNxBLM Project Draws Together Black and Asian American Artists

by Roxanne Ray

(This article was originally published by International Examiner and has been reprinted with permission.)


By now, most people have heard — or at least heard of — TED Talks. More recently, this Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) nonprofit foundation launched The Mystery Experiment, which granted $10,000 to 300 inspired participants, and in February, local KUOW community engagement producer Kristin Leong was awarded one of these grants.

The funding was a big surprise to Leong. “When TED shared their call for people to apply to be part of their Mystery Experiment, they were very vague about what the project was all about or what it would require of participants,” Leong said. “There was no mention of money at all.”

But that didn’t stop Leong from applying. “I replied to their mysterious call because I’ve had such a supportive and inspiring experience over the last four years as a TED-Ed Innovative Educator and because I believe in TED’s mission to amplify innovative and audacious ideas,” she said. “I had no idea what I was getting myself into!”

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POETRY: We Are the Spring

by Dragon Moon (translation by Kalayo Pestaño)


Dragon Moon wrote this bilingual song for a kids’ garden show, but it has since become an anthem for all ages. Inspired by the Tagalog song “Bahay Kubo” as well as the famous quote by Pablo Neruda, the song illustrates how plants and humans grow and create cycles of change. It is in English and Tagalog.

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With ‘Born to Win,’ Draze Pays Homage to Zimbabwean Ancestry

by M. Anthony Davis

The Seattle Globalist was a daily online publication that covered the connections between local and global issues in Seattle. The Emerald is keeping alive its legacy of highlighting our city’s diverse voices by regularly publishing and re-publishing stories aligned with the Globalist‘s mission. 


After success from his last single, “Black Wealth,” that not only accumulated over 2 million views across social media platforms, but launched multiple Black marketplace events that showcased Black businesses nationwide, hip-hop emcee and musician Draze is back with another new single, “Born to Win.” 

Both singles will be included in an untitled album set to release this summer. “Born to Win” pays homage to Draze’s Zimbabwean roots with a new sound that he calls “Ancestral Art.” 

“Being a Black man, and being from both Seattle and Zimbabwe, it was the merging and the meshing of these two worlds,” Draze explains. On “Born to Win,” these two sounds are merged seamlessly. The track opens with Ngonidzashe, who is Draze’s younger cousin, singing in their native language. His melody smoothly washes over hip-hop drums, before he transitions to English and is followed by Draze who delivers a verse that explores nuances of being a Zimbabwean growing up in Seattle through lines like, “ I remember the third grade them n***** they had waves, I had them beady bees you know the Zimbabwean grade, so they threw shade.” 

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OPINION: We Must Continue Lifting the Voice of Every Womxn

by Shasti Conrad


In 2020, we saw people across the country make their voices heard with an urgency America hasn’t witnessed in decades. We marched in cities from coast to coast to express the need for social justice in our country. We advocated for change, pushing for more equity and inclusion.

The core of our chorus in protest after protest, “Black Lives Matter,” is a demand for action — an insistent call to finally tend to the overdue work of elevating Black voices and centering Black experiences. 

That call was heeded at the ballot box here in Washington State, with more Black candidates elected than ever before.

Now that we have transitioned into 2021, it is more important than ever to keep building that momentum beyond electoral politics. We must continue to lift our voices and advocate for change throughout our society. 

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NEWS GLEAMS: ‘Sharks at the Beach,’ Philanthropy Northwest Hiring, Plus a Grant & a Scholarship

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle! 


2021 “Sharks at the Beach”

Urban Impact wants to know: Do you, or do you know someone who needs help launching their business idea or growing their “side hustle?”

Why yes, myself and/or someone I know does need help with that, you say. Well then, check out Urban Impact’s Sharks at the Beach entrepreneurship program. Note: There was an info session on the 20th — don’t worry, there’s still time to get in on this! The deadline to apply is Friday, Jan. 29 at 11 p.m. Use this web form to apply or you can email the administrator, Keristian Farra, from there if you have any questions.

Continue reading NEWS GLEAMS: ‘Sharks at the Beach,’ Philanthropy Northwest Hiring, Plus a Grant & a Scholarship

Seattle Author Daudi Abe Explores Hip Hop’s Political Roots and Seattle Rappers’ Cultural Influence

by Beverly Aarons


Crumbling brick buildings litter a once thriving business district. Two-story homes blackened with soot sit boarded up and abandoned. Children find pipes and needles in sandboxes. Twenty students share five books in a freezing classroom … no heat. No food tonight, just too expensive. No new shoes — wear your older sibling’s pair and line the holes with newsprint. This is America: Late ‘70s and ‘80s. To be clear, this is America’s urban ghettos: Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and yes, even Seattle. One generation earlier, much of Black America fled the vicious Jim Crow south seeking safety and opportunity in the north only to find itself pinned into economic wastelands with no capital and little opportunity for growth. And it is within this context that hip hop was born. During my interview with Daudi Abe, a Seattle Central College professor and the author of Emerald Street: A History of Hip Hop in Seattle, he shared his thoughts on hip hop and its political and cultural impact. 

Abe, who was born and raised in Seattle, teaches a class on the history of hip hop at Seattle Central College. Most of his students are in their late teens and early 20s, and they have a hard time understanding the context from which hip hop was born, he said. But context is key to understanding why hip hop survived and thrived while other music genres such as disco faded into history. 

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THIS WEEK IN SOUTH SEATTLE — Blacks Making History: Storytelling & Liberation, Seattle Asian American Film Fest, Celebrating Mardi Gras, & More!

by Emerald Staff

Wed., Feb. 19:

Mothers For Police Accountability

“Mothers For Police Accountability will present to the Community the
History of Weed and Seed in CD, that lead to People Remover or Gentrification. More information call 206-380-1710 Rev. Walden.Kid-friendly

Time: 6–8 p.m.
Where: Liberty Bank Building — 1405 24th Ave
Cost: Free to attend

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THIS WEEK IN SOUTH SEATTLE —Apocalipstick, Documentary Night: Soul Train, Azure Savage – You Failed Us, and More!

by Emerald Staff

Thurs., Feb. 13:

No Small Talk: Loving Black

“In partnership with the Association of Black Social Work Students at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work, this community dialogue series invites and highlights voices and ideas from across the Black diaspora on important topics that inform the individual and collective Black experience. These moderated conversations center the voices of performing artists, mental health professionals, spiritual and body workers, writers, authors and more from across the northwest.

“February’s topic is Loving Black – Discussing the interpersonal and intimate relationships between Black people. Examining love between Black families in a historical context and how it connects to now. An open space to talk about stigmas, challenges, and the sweet parts of loving each other.” 

Time: 7–9 p.m.
Where: NAAM — 2300 S. Massachusetts St
Cost: FREE (register via the Facebook event)

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THIS WEEK IN SOUTH SEATTLE — Blacks Making History, “Young, Gifted, & Black,” Lunar New Year Festivities, and More!

by Emerald Staff

Thurs., Feb. 6:

Blacks Making History: The Politics of Possibility

“In celebration of Black History Month, we’re partnering with the King County Library System and visual artist Michael B. Maine for the Blacks Making History Series! Every Thursday in February will feature a different event honoring the past, and looking towards the future in celebration of our local Black community. Join us this Thursday (Feb 6th) at 7pm for our first event, an all-star panel discussion at the Skyway Library about the evolution and endurance of Black political and social movements.

“Featured panelists include Kirsten Harris-Talley, Kelle J Brown, Dominique Davis, Brianna Thomas, and Michael Charles. The panel will be moderated by Marcus Harrison Green and Bridgette Hempstead (Founder of Cierra Sisters and Vice-President of The Emerald Board of Directors). All events are free and open to everyone! Read full panelist bios in the Facebook event description. 

Time: 7–8 p.m.
Where: Skyway Library — 12601 76th Ave S.
Cost: FREE

Continue reading THIS WEEK IN SOUTH SEATTLE — Blacks Making History, “Young, Gifted, & Black,” Lunar New Year Festivities, and More!