Raheem DeVaughn Speaks On Being Arrested At ‘Occupy DC’

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By: Tray Hova / October 19, 2011
The “Occupy” movement that has taken place over the past month continues to garner the support of citizens and celebrities alike, creating moments of history within public areas throughout the country. 

This past Sunday, R&B singer/radio show host Raheem DeVaughn and political activist Dr. Cornel West along with 19 protestors were arrested and held overnight for demonstrating against social and economic inequality on the steps of the Supreme Court House building in Washington D.C. The demonstration coincided with the dedication ceremony of the Dr. Martin Luther King memorial held on the National Mall.

“It was humbling, rewarding, historic,” DeVaughn told VIBE about participating in Sunday’s protests. The R&B artist and Dr. West had conducted a peaceful protest after the activist had given a speech on Freedom Plaza. The two met in 2007 at the BET Honors event during a tribute to West.  West was holding a sign that read “Poverty Is The Greatest Violence Of All” which was considered illegal on the Supreme Court steps. 

The inmates that DeVaughn met while being held overnight said they were thankful to the protestors and artists rallying on their behalf. He feels that music gives him the responsibility to use his art as a public platform for change.

“I think Sunday solidified that once again, you cant just talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk,” DeVaughn said. “It ain’t always about the red carpet look ’cause trust me there’s nothing red carpet about being locked up.”

The Grammy-award nominated artist is no stranger to social involvement, having his music speak on current events, such as his Grammy-award nominatedThe Love and War MasterPeace album from 2010. The soul singer has always been aware of current events and expressing them in his music.

“I always been inspired and aspire to inspire through the music, I feel like I’ve always made the soundtrack to a movement,” DeVaughn said. “There are times I question, you know, is anybody even listening, does anybody even care?”

Radio has been another outlet for the singer to speak out about social issues. On his show The Raheem DeVaughn Internet Radio Show that broadcasts on Blis.fm, DeVaughn weighs in on a variety of topics from civil rights to health issues.

He is also working on a project in collaboration with Kenny Dope along with his fourth album A Place Called Loveland that will primarily deal with love and relationships.

When asked about the transition from socially conscious artist to soul singer, DeVaughn said it’s not difficult. “I’m a lover by nature, a lover by heart, so I embrace the balance of both.”

DeVaughn hopes that his involvement in the protests and his music inspires his peers, “brothers and sisters” to become more aware of the events occurring not just at home, but worldwide. 

“If I’m not representing the people with my music, for the goodwill of the Creator,” said DeVaughn. “It’s all in vain at the end of the day.” —Adelle Platon