We had the good fortune of connecting with Jevaugn Fleming and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jevaugn, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started my business to reclaim what I lost. Security and stability.
Ever since I discovered my passion for music in 2012, I knew one day I’d want to share something of my own with the world. To what capacity I was unsure, but I daydreamed about it endlessly. I wanted to say something, but being the quiet kid, I didn’t know how at the time. I desired a sound that spoke to me and for me; a mentality that spoke for me; an action that spoke for me. Music was that, and it still is. It brought me a sense of life where just in that moment, I felt my belonging in the world. I would feel my entirety expand with energy, and it was there that I felt my happiest. Music is an experience, and in such a lonely world I found it bringing much awareness to my worth as a person and how interconnected we are. Despite all the intrusive negativity that would attempt to break me down, music made sure I was persistent with keeping the flame in my spirit alive. Music made sure I worked towards the future when I had no one supporting my present. Music brought me my loved ones. It brought me knowledge. It brought me peace and sanity. Music brought me here to this moment in my life where I’m grabbing it by the reigns. I believe in my existence simply because I was given this gift of music by people who were and are blessed with traits of inspiring greatness. I live for the next musical adventure, but before I took the chance to create my own Covid19 happened.
Before starting my business, I was an essential worker at a hospital. Patient transport was my position and I was there right before NYC’s first Quarantine Lockdown. Although sudden, I felt I had to be there. I took my civic responsibility seriously as I wanted no preventable blood on my hands. Covid19 was and is one of the most detrimental phenomenon my generation has faced on a widespread basis. We had to quickly adapt to a brand new way of living, and without any warning. As a result. there were very few of us who stayed to help; however, as time went on I felt my time there coming to an end. I couldn’t tolerate the managerial mistreatment any longer. I knew they’d leave me without a line even during this severe time of dire need.
At 27 years old, I’ve found myself in this position many times before. Every time I lost myself on this journey, it became more apparent that I was never in a place where I could understand myself in the first place (or what it meant to be me for me). Instead, I was stuck trying to make a way with what wasn’t working anymore, work. As a child of immigrants, being downtrodden by the trials of one’s generational displacement is easy. It’s easy to feel without center, purpose, or belonging. One is left to their devices.. their body floating around for solace attempting to grab at anything revitalizing. A bit dramatic maybe, but that’s how I experienced my mortality and its impermanence. I never felt secure despite taking the necessary steps many said would ensure stability, security, and access to the bigger world.
Starting my business meant claiming ownership on my life again. I finally called dibs. It became about reclamation over a right that was successfully snatched from me numerous times regardless of my effort and dedication to perform my work ethic. I gave to my duty as a working servant in society. Now, I want to reestablish a sense of grounding that facilitates growth in an equitable manner.
We’re in a time where ownership and privacy are increasingly prevalent to the development of our current and future society. Black People especially are in a turbulent time of vulnerability, as we are overexposed to the vitriol world without the due diligence of justice serving our right to peace and civility. Our extreme lack of ownership reinforces these conditions aggressively which also reinforces our extreme lack of overall capital. Capital that would then provide the peace we desire in our spaces. Instead, we work to maintain the preservation of the hierarchy’s capital. We can’t fight that reality. I can’t fight that reality. But if I am to live this way, I at least want to be able to live doing what I love, and what brings me life. I want my people to know what that feels like as well: To live for the joy of living, growing, and expanding. Although, I understand that I can’t force people to have this vision, creating access and opportunity for the choice is what matters.
Art and self-expression is the root of our culture. It’s more than entertainment. It’s a response to generational traumas repressed, but now unfiltered for society to digest (or attempt to). It’ll be a violent. It’ll be peaceful. It’ll be proud and boastful. It’ll be vulnerable. It’ll be loving. It’ll be sensual. It’s raw. It’s for that reason why it’s desirable because regardless of the energy the expression creates, it shines vibrantly for everyone to see. I created my business so that these expressive energies central to our Blackness can be visibly controlled by us. We become our own narratives which secures our life with our hands and those we trust along this journey.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets me apart from other artists is my sound. It’s spiritual, angry, poetic, and Black. I approach my sound not only with my voice, but with the instrumentals I compose to accompany the emotions I feel. However, for me, this is more than music. It is art. I love exploring all kinds of mediums and meshing them together for something new and authentic to my mind. For that reason, I enjoy taking creative risks in my art. I draw inspiration and knowledge from many who influence not only an industry, but a culture. I want to do the same. It encourages my desire to be proactive in exploring my potential as a creative, and as someone who wants to contribute to my culture. I’ve spent time in photography, videography, fine art and sculpture, drawing, music, and dance – I grabbed at any and everything that gave me an ounce of freedom from daily emotional and physical traumas commonly experienced in low-income neighborhoods. This is also why I love collaborating with others. It’s just different when you collectively create something you love with another who equally loves it. A bond is formed, and you no longer have to traverse this life alone with this connection.
So, I’m proud I found my voice and the confidence to share what I have to say because it’s allowed me to form long lasting bonds through art.
Starting since 2012 to now, I can say the journey wasn’t easy. Being a creative means constantly breaking yourself down and rebuilding it in the name of producing an undeniable piece of art. Deconstructing an ego’s need for perfection and acknowledgment is the battle one never really gets over though. However, once one believes in themselves earnestly, it’s a different story. Believing in oneself is very much an isolated trek. Many people won’t be able to see the vision in the mind, but knowing one’s vision for themselves is the biggest step of the mission. That’s how energy is sustained. That’s how longevity is maintained. I do want to say that no one’s vision comes to life by the hands of themselves. I will never believe that narrative. I believe that a vision can be seen and formulated by an individual of course, but it takes a village to bring it to life.
Ghetto Pope Dreams was originally a short, one minute song describing a kid with nothing, but wanting to give it all if he could. The question though, is what would he do for it after realizing that he’s taking his own life for granted? The ghetto is a manmade environment/infrastructure that cannot be changed because it’s a “necessary evil” for capitalism’s sustainability. The ghetto itself is a radical invention… and compartmentalizing through policing people creates equally radical behavior (in the authority figures and civilians). There’s barely ever a voice of reason to mediate hyper-fluctuating emotions shared between these waring groups. But as much as I want to be a voice of reason, I equally share the torment felt as a Black body. My music will remain radical in essence and in nature.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a nature person. The most I do in the city is walk around like a tourist looking for parks and interesting little things to take pictures of. Catch me on rooftops and mountain tops… I need my little escapes. Concerts are also the best thing in the world, honestly – a NYC concert is pure energy. Local shows have died down since Covid, but Uptown was bumping!
And you know the Taurus vibes! Picky, but a bull tryna eat, haha – We got the best pizza, love the ramen spots, and the pasta will put me to bed for sure. But if i’m honest, I got a mean sweet-tooth. Savage even… I’m grateful for all the candy stores we have. I thank them for serving us sugar demons like no other.
Unfortunately, I’m terrible with names!! But I remember where they are and that’s all that matters… I’m the worst tour guide (heheh).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Michael Martinez for introducing me to the music I needed to hear.
My mom for getting me my first guitar (ESP LTD FM-100)
Pheona Simmonds for being by my side and in my corner like no other
My baby sister for choosing to join me on this artistic journey and adding her own sauce to the pot
My team/family of hardworking individuals who believe in a bigger vision alongside me: Yuseff Hamm Jr., Elliot Rivas, Teresa Siri, Imani, Twin, A’niche, Quyen Ba,
All the artists who were brave enough to give the world a piece of themselves
Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Ralph Emerson, and Wallace Stevens for their literary and scholastic enlightenment
J.K Rowling for writing such a colorful and imaginative world for a young mind to explore in
John Browne for his unique and inspiring sound
Kendrick Lamar for reminding me my voice is important, and so is the art that accompanies and supports the vision
Mac Miller for showing me the humanity in even the darkest, most intrusive of thoughts