I’m Jasmine Stallworth aka ‘Honey Gold’. I am a mother, Mills College student, singer-songwriter, and founder of the Increase the Peace social enterprise: an event series and annual festival that creates a space for millennial aged creative artists and entrepreneurs to promote holistic healing through music therapy and music appreciation, while simultaneously promoting intergenerational community building and learning. In addition to these events, the community outreach component of the enterprise will engage the community through music therapy and/or theory workshops and classes via public schools, community centers and spaces dedicated to the advancement of our people.
For as long as I can remember, I used music (and still do) to express, encourage and empower myself in ways that simple spoken words can not.. I noticed that this was a passion that I shared with many people in the African diaspora in America and wasn’t surprised at all. Music has always been a very essential part of our culture and has major influence on everything from politics to fashion trends. In an effort to expand on the ways in which we both create the music and let it create us, I began pursuing a double major in Music and Psychology at Mills College.
It wasn’t until I started to dive into music theory and composition that I realized how much music had been colonized through intentionally creating barriers for specific demographics of people, particularly people of color, to learn music theory and have music therapy frameworks catered to our needs. Studies have shown that not only is learning music theory beneficial for math skills, cognitive abilities, and social skills, it can empower those who want to expand on their vocabulary and learn the language of music (source:http://neurorhythm.com/music-therapy/music-therapy-science/). Also, although music therapy is a growing field, there is a lack of representation for methods that effectively consider the African diaspora and the genres of choice that are prevalent in our communities. It’s not unusual to hear a local artist say, “Music saved my life!” So, why not offer folks the tools to deepen their appreciation through music education?
To help shift the paradigm of inaccessibility to the arts, a paradigm built into the infrastructure of oppressive systems, and bring visibility to the healing power of music, Increase the Peace aims to use the events, annual festival, and community outreach components to create a culture of individuals that will do their PIECE to keep the PEACE ...musically!
How can you do your piece to help Increase the Peace? Any contribution is greatly appreciated! Current future developments include our first pop up event happening Fall 2016 that will feature interactive sound art installations, community building group music therapy, local entertainment and special guests that advocate for music education and/or therapy. Sponsorship, financial and resource donations, volunteer services, and free/low cost event space/equipment rentals would help this enterprise thrive and with it, those that support and participate in the festivities! Feel free to contact [email protected] if you would like to contribute.