It is through unconditional love of self and others combined with artistic, spiritual awakening that I plan to live a life of promoting peace and unity. My name is Nehemiah Thompson, but I’m known to most as just “Nehi”. For me growing up in the many various neighborhoods of the Los Angeles inner city was inarguably one of the most frustrating yet character-defining periods of my life. Gang wars, drug abuse, alcoholism, extreme poverty and devastating loss on such a regular basis that one’s emotions/sensitivity becomes almost non-existent. In addition to each of these environmental factors let’s take a look at the in-home dynamic that plagues most minority families that are the make-up of South Central, Inglewood, Hawthorne and other urban neighborhoods in Los Angeles County.

There is a systemic algorithm in our communities composed of many different variables that somehow all produce the same pre-determined set of negative outcomes, and it begins in the home with the dissolution of the family unit, and then proceeds to the stripping away of healthy self-images and identity from the ground up. Fathers are, more often than not, absent from the home and formative upbringing of their children which has undeniably negative effects on the development of a forming psyche, reaching even as far as trauma and chronic depression-related disorders. It is well known that the years from infancy to pre-adolescence are the foundation of a child’s identity wherein their life morals, ethics and world-view are first formed. Since this is so it makes complete sense that a home devoid of these primary essentials would exhibit dysfunctions in countless and immeasurable ways for years to come. The adverse effects are shown to reach far into adulthood if left unaddressed as is so in most real-world examples. Our children have lost the tools and ability to form and fall in love with their own identity, and instead are bombarded with false images of grand lifestyles or conversely true images of inescapable despair and turmoil.

Paired with the tattered and poverty-stricken home life comes the peer-pressure, bullying, “flexing” and other unhealthy motivations presented in the public-school system, and these issues are not unique to the inner city, but rather widespread to the deepest corners of our nation. Why am I outlining these various negatives of our communities? Because I strongly believe that at least 70% of our social justice issues and inequalities stem from neglected psychological growth and a painful absence of true self love and appreciation. Self-love is unfortunately a term that is overused to the point of cliché but yet still very few have come to comprehend what it actually is and what powers it holds in reality: Empathy, Compassion, Forgiveness, Belief, Healing, Insight and unbending, life-changing Unconditional Love. These are just a few of the gifts that a human being inherits when they truly find their self and love their self for who they are rather than what they possess or look like or even what talents they hold. A human being who has attained and regularly employs these gifts in their day to day lives is in my opinion the most powerful example of the blue print necessary for us to live in peace and unity. I personally will use my music and art to demonstrate these lessons to the world.