A black and white image of the musical duo MIDWEST SALOON.

Black Perspectives #05: NAZZZTAE (1/2 of MIDWEST SALOON)

The Big Questions

SSD: There are two big questions that I’m asking every interview subject to answer.

First: What does it mean to you to “Be Black” in 2022?

NAZZZ: To “Be Black”, for ME, in 2022 means complete freedom. This is the year for me to completely free myself from any mental chains that I thought would make me feel accepted by people (those who look like me, and people who don’t). 

Time to explore with different colors, sounds, smells, and textures regarding my music, visual art, clothing, and everything. This is the time to be free and, to me, true freedom is no fear. I want to bend the bars of inclusion to fit my vision, regardless of how radical and different that vision is. 

MIDWEST SALOON is a duo that is raw in thought and passion, and this is displayed through our art. Our lyrical expressions rejoice in our fearlessness and verve for being free, and the gratitude [of] every moment for it. 

Being Black in 2022, for us, means to create as many moments as we can, in the lives of as many people as we can, that are considered unforgettable. And a sound and vision that someday, several years from 2022, will become a warm nostalgic thought.

Maybe our Goal for 2022 is not to be Black at all, it’s just to be. Be all that we dream of, and be the best at it.

SSD: Ok, moving on to Numero Dos: As a Black Person in America, what’s one thing that you wish other people knew about your daily experiences?

NAZZZ: I think, as a Black Man, I experience mental slavery on a daily basis.  I see Black People struggling with who we are and what Social Media, Music, and TV tell us we are. This bothers me because I don’t like to be put inside boxes. Whether it’s my age, financial status, or race I don’t like boxes.

I believe Black People in America, though mostly not in [physical] chains any longer, still suffer from a form of slavery much more dismantling. Sometimes it’s the things that you can’t see that will get you the worst. Still, we are heavily influenced by what we hear and see, and a lot of what Black People hear and see is negative.

Now, this is from my perspective.  I walk the streets of KC on a daily basis and I can never really get a smile or a head nod from another Black Man. I feel as though we look at each other as enemies immediately, and if not enemies definitely not brothers. I wish that would change – and hopefully, through our music, we can inspire brothers to come together and party like tomorrow isn’t ever coming.

SSD: Thanks for answering those, and that is a solid segue back to the music (which is what I hit you up for).

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