Schama • Musician, Songwriter, Meditator
Schama is Haitian. He was born in Port-au-Prince and moved to Orlando when he was two years old. When Schama was growing up, his culture and birthplace were frowned upon. He was told by kids who looked like him that being Haitian was the lowest form of humanity and that he had no value. In elementary and middle school, to avoid teasing and ridicule, Schama told his peers that he was Jamaican. He continued to hide his identity until he realized his desire to do so stemmed from self-hatred and internalized racism.
Today, Schama is a backpack rapper and writer. When he started creating and experiencing success in Orlando, he quickly realized people were attempting to hold him back, so he decided to relocate to Denver to escape and pursue his dream. He’s lived in Denver for two years now and has made more progress in his music career than he did in five years back home. He attributes his rise to the supportive community and time alone, which he has come to enjoy.
During our conversation, we talked about meditation and music. Schama shared that in Denver, even if there aren’t as many people who look like him, he is a bit more comfortable. When I asked Schama to describe Denver in one word he replied, “accepting.” Here’s what it means to be Schama in Denver.
Tell me about South Florida Schama versus Denver Schama.
South Florida Schama definitely hung around the wrong friends. I think being here, being able to be isolated, I can hang out with myself a lot more. Therefore my awareness is increasing, there’s not any noise around me, so I can really meditate and just focus on myself.
So what have you found with your time being with self?
Relationships that I have, even though I like someone, or they’re good people, can hold me back. Especially if I’m growing at a faster rate than they are or the conversations that I have with them aren’t as meaningful as I thought at the time. There’s a Bible verse that says, “Iron sharpens iron,” and I found myself just learning more from being by myself than around people.
Who are you?
I am an introvert, but my music is extroverted because it has to be. Being isolated, it allows me to express myself, and obviously music is the vehicle where you can see all sides of myself: the confident side, the sad side, the anxious side, every side. I’m all of that. And with music, you get to see and feel all of that.
What does it mean to be you?
To be me means to overcome all barriers and constructs designed to prevent me from achieving full knowledge of self along with my higher purpose.
What does it mean to be you here?
To be me here means to be completely myself. I do what I want to do, when I want to. I trust myself. I know that what I’m doing is pure and my intention behind it is always gonna be something greater than myself. I have a space where I can just maximize myself, there’s nothing stopping me at this point.
What do you love most about living in Denver?
The open-mindedness, acceptance, and how everyone will just let people be. I think that’s the most important aspect of any developing society, not being so judgmental about who someone is. I would also have to say the reception for conscious hip-hop. It feels good to just be in a place where people are more receptive to what you have to say.
How have your experiences in Denver shaped you?
They have definitely built my confidence and this made me realize that if four people are telling me that I’m doing the wrong thing or not doing enough, and I 100 percent believe I am doing it, then I go with myself, every single time.
What are the benefits you’ve found in being alone?
Being able to create and not feel like someone is looking at me because of my talent. Being able to be in the zone. I don’t think I was able to do that with just different energies around me all the time. I think being by myself really helped me just 100% get into this creative space that’s almost impossible for me when I’m in a toxic environment.
What about finding home within. What have you found there?
I can basically be one with the universe. I’m not thinking about what’s gonna happen and I’m not thinking about what already happened, I just am. I just exist. The benefit of that is it removes anxiety and it removes any fear I have, because I can’t really fear the present. I only fear what’s gonna happen. You can’t fear what is. Also, the brain is like a muscle. If I don’t take care of it, it can take a toll on me. Meditation is a form of exercise, it’s the best medicine because it’s natural and I can heal myself.