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OUR VOICES: Dawn Richard Talks Afrofuturism, Empowerment, Hip Hop Caucus

Dawn Richard
Dawn Richard was featured in a discussion and Afrofuturism performance at the National Museum of African American History and Culture on June 10. Photo: Ja’Mon Jackson/The Washington Informer

Dr. Micha Green

Dawn Richard has come a long way from being a MTV’s “Making the Band 3,” star and member of Danity Kane and Diddy Dirty Money. In her almost two decades in the entertainment business, Richard continues to add to her artistry, now as an independent artist, re-inventing and innovating ways to present art and connect with the masses. Now, as a solo singer, animation artist and Artist Relations director for the Hip Hop Caucus, Richard is continuing to wow fans through her Afrofuturistic, New Orleans-inspired sound and her deep care about uplifting fellow artists.

“You don’t realize it when you’re in it, right? You’re just working your hardest to make great art and to do the things that you love,” Richard, told the Informer in a WIN-TV Live interview the day before she took her talents to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) on June 9.

“I just wanted to make this incredible piece of art that I could push past possibilities with the music that I’ve created,” Richard continued. “My independent career has really pushed the concept of Black women in music and in places that sometimes we’re not seen, like in the tech space and animation. In spaces of electro, electronic music and pop music, where sometimes we have to be a certain color, or we have to be a certain thing to be recognized within these things. These were the spaces that I wanted to push the envelope on, and to have the Smithsonian museum say, ‘You know what, yes, we see you… is exciting.”

Richard knows the grind it takes to be acknowledged for hard work and pays homage to the people and organizations that helped her on the road to success. More than 18 years ago, Richard, a New Orleans native, grappled with the horrors her hometown faced during Hurricane Katrina. While many organizations stepped in to help those affected by the devastating storm, Richard always remembered Hip Hop Caucus as lending a helping hand.


“I did not know then, some 18 years later, I would want to work for them,” Richard said. “But when the opportunity arose, I thought it was the universe and God’s saying this is an opportunity for me to give back and to help our kids find their spaces and their voices to not only just be musicians, but effect change, and Hip Hop Caucus has been very pivotal in that for me.”

Washington Informer Managing Editor Micha Green is a storyteller and actress from Washington, D.C. Micha received a Bachelor’s of Arts from Fordham University, where she majored in Theatre, and a Master’s of Journalism from University of Maryland’s prestigious, Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

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