Central District artist wants to raise “Black privilege”

Yirim Seck is in a good place right now. With three songs left to mix and master on his upcoming album, “Hear Me Out II” and a few shows in the works, the Central District-based rapper with Senegalese roots has gotten his momentum back.

The album is a follow-up to his 2009 first full-length album, “Hear Me Out,” and follows the fall release of his video, “We Call It Murder,” a captivating police violence anthem inspired by a conversation he had with his 10-year-old daughter Kine. (We discuss this in the short film, “Raising Black privilege.“)

This new wind is “a long time coming,” says Seck. After years of working 9-to-5 construction jobs to support his family, the art got sidelined. Then last year, one of his employers tanked, forcing him to endure long commutes for weatherization jobs far out of the Seattle area just as his rent was doubling.

“It didn’t make any sense. I was like, “Why are you doing this? So here you are with talent. You should be out there creating opportunities, not waiting for opportunities.’”

Seck now works independent labor contracts, “which is much more lucrative,” he says.

“It allows me to really kind of spend more time with my family, but now I’m actually able to take that money and dump it back into the music, which I couldn’t do working a 9-to-5.”

It’s like living versus surviving, he says. As a descendent of one of the first few black families who have remained in the Central District since the 1940s — maintaining a sense of Black privilege and family wealth to pass onto his daughters is also a priority.

The hope is that his art is taking him there.

“Now I’m realizing that the work that I do, the music and the family — all of these are tied together. One thing affects the other.”

Catch Yirim Seck next at Seattle Art Museum during One Vibe Africa’s Kijiji Fest this Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. 

On Friday, March 3 through Sunday, March 5, Yirim will be presenting a collaborative work with filmmaker/conceptual artist DK Pan at City Arts Magazine’s annual “Genre Bender.” Shows start at 6:3o p.m. on March 3, 8 p.m. March 4 and 2 p.m. on March 5 at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. 

Watch Yirim speak on power and privilege on Thursday, March 23, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. as Northwest African American Museum continues its “Complex Exchange” panel discussion series at Seattle Art Museum. 

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