by Marielle Nicol
“Start. Just start.” is what 25-year-old rapper and community activist Shevy Price says to those asking what can practically be done to instigate social change locally.
Price, who recorded her first song when she was thirteen-years-old in a program ‘From My Hood to Your Hood’ has been a force in east coast music and community activism ever since. Today, she is an active musician, a young mother and TakingITGlobal’s youth engagement activator for Nova Scotia.
“From My Hood to Your Hood was a program my mom created after her best friend was murdered. She wanted to do something positive,” says Price. “Seeing that happen and having that experience really triggered my community activism at a very young age.”
Price spent her next years volunteering at Centreline Studio iMOVe, Halifax Association for Community Living and received funding from the IWK to run her pilot project ‘In the Mix’, where she worked with children and music, providing them with tools to forge their own identity through creativity.
Her current job allows her to make similar programs take place by giving out micro-grants to individuals with ideas for community impact projects. According to Price, this kind of local support is crucial for instigating social change in and around Halifax.
“I think one of the biggest things that we need to focus on when it comes to social change especially in Halifax is how to keep the talented and humble people here. Give them the resources and tools they need to stay here and flourish.”
The city of Halifax is dear to her heart, though she knows that things aren’t perfect. According to Price, reworking the rehabilitation process would be another way to bring about positive change.
“We have brilliant brilliant youth, all around, and it really upsets me when somebody does something bad one time and their security, their stability and the way they perceive the world crumbles because they’ve done this one thing and they can’t find a way out.”
Price suggests shifting the focus from internal state to external action. She says that too often those who break the law or do something wrong are written off as inherently bad people. Instead, Price suggests taking a more honest approach: good people do bad things sometimes.
“We’re human. That’s the thing that frustrates me a lot, is this perception of perfection.”
She is grateful to be a part of the TakingITGlobal Team, where the acknowledgment of one’s individual imperfections is standard procedure.
“It’s not a team of everybody who thinks they know everything. Everybody is ok with not knowing something and learning and allowing that inclusion to happen”.
Coming to grips with her own vulnerability and trepidations around certain topics has made it easier for Price to engage in challenging conversations about social change.
“When I was that 13 year-old-kid, I had a big issue with having conversations with people and talking about hard topics. [Now] I can be a part of that hard dialogue conversation about change, and what the problems are because I’m doing it from a place of ‘I want to find a solution’, Or I want to be a part of the solution.”
Whether it be a larger community impact project or smiling at more people on the street, Price says to just start.
“I might not be able to create something that solves all the problems, but I can be a part of the solution,” says Price. “I’ve gotta do something. I don’t wanna spend the rest of my life looking for a purpose when it’s right in front of me.”
Follow Shevy on Instagram @shevyprice
Photograph by Julie Macdougall