Devin • Rapper, Producer, Musician, Educator

Devin aka SpeakS was born and raised in Denver. He grew up spray painting and skateboarding, and still has a passion for it today. He is a rapper, producer, musician, artist and a full-time educator at Youth on Record, a local organization on a mission to empower underserved youth to achieve their academic, artistic, and personal best.

Devin, like many, has been directly impacted by the city’s boom, sharing “gentrification sucks” in his questionnaire. He loves Denver, his people, his students, and the community. Next time you’re at the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe stop by and give Denver’s weirdest a friendly hello, he’s dope! Keep reading for Devin’s perspective.

What does it mean to you to be black in Denver?

To me, it means pride, culture, safety, knowledge, and diversity. There are so many different types of us black people. The culture and roots push me to do what I do.

What do you love most about living in Denver?

I love being around my community. I feel safe.

How have your experiences in Denver shaped you?

Denver has shown me what it’s like to be displaced but still overcome that displacement and find myself. Going through the change has made me closer to my roots and community.

What are the benefits of being oneself?

Fresh. I think being myself is being able to identify who I am, what I want in life, and who or what benefits me the most. I feel like when you live a life being fully authentic, you are naturally attracted to people and communities like yourself without even knowing it. I have spent my life getting over the fear of not pleasing people who want me to be a specific way, and now I get to be myself. Being myself has got me a job that doesn’t feel like a job because I get to be me. Being myself has brought me to my closest friends and communities, where I do not feel alienated because they accept me for me.