Rashad Hawkins is an independent artist, producer and grassroots community organizer. Hawkins started his organizing career working with Community Law in Action (CLIA), to develop and organize youth around a new initiative called The Just Kids Partnership, where Hawkins co-created and implemented Just Kids’ grassroots campaign strategy to successfully change legislation and remove youth from adult jails. He developed the campaign’s Core Alliance of Youth Leaders, which, under his leadership, was recognized with a multitude of awards including the John P. Sarbanes Courage Award (2011 and 2012), and the Open Society Institute Audacious Individuals Award (2013). Notably, he co-chaired an alliance of over 30 organizations that stopped the construction of a proposed jail that would have been built to house youth in Baltimore City.
Simultaneously, he worked relentlessly on his music career while remaining completely independent – writing his own lyrics, producing his own instrumentals, marketing himself, and booking shows. In 2013, over 26,000 people downloaded his first official mix-tape “Charm,” and Hawkins was recognized as a “charismatic and confident emcee blessed with the God-given skills to be unbelievably deep on the microphone, yet able to spit his lyrics out with machine-gun-like fury” (jamsphere.com).
His inventiveness and genre-breaking style earned him a reputation as one of Baltimore’s versatile producers and has resulted in his immense success at staying ahead of the curve. In 2014, he executive produced “kNew Baltimore,” uniting young MCs born and raised in Baltimore City to tell the raw, unheard stories of their city. Hawkins believes strongly in the power of music and art to transform people and communities, and is a self-proclaimed “Artivist.” Throughout his work and life, his ultimate goal is to “destroy the walls that keep us separated, and build bridges to unify.”
In March 2015, Hawkins started his own company “BMore Awesome Inc” (BMAi), which challenged him to strengthen his capacity for change as he saw his community’s realities through a new lens. Hawkins faced all of the systemic issues, which he’d worked a large part of his life to address, he had a more holistic understanding of these issues. His combined personal and professional experiences define his approach to system reform.
Under Hawkins’ leadership BMAi hosts several events and performances, secured and executed several contracts to serve different youth-focused organizations, built partnerships with several organizations, co-organized the first ever Mayoral Forum on Arts and Culture in Baltimore, co-created the first ever school police policy in Baltimore City, and recently, co-created and supported HB 78: Maryland Commission on Health Equity (The Shirley Nathan-Pulliam Health Equity Act of 2021).
HB 78 became law (5/30/21) and will lead to data and fact driven reforms on all levels of government, while providing an authentic starting point for legitimately address systemic racism.
In 2016, Hawkins was contracted as an artist, activist, and teacher for the Youth Resiliency Institute’s Lom Nava Love project. Lom Nava Love is an arts and culture focused, community organizing documentary and movement. The Lom Nava Love documentary premiered October 15, 2016, accompanied by an original soundtrack written, composed and produced by Fanon Hill, and featuring vocalist Navasha Daya, as well as Hawkins, and many others.
Rashad Hawkins has been featured in The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Social Innovation Journal (cover), Baltimore Fishbowl, and several independent blogs and new outlets.
RASHAD HAWKINS’ MEDIA LINKS: