The King of Declaring His Message
Michael Bruce Graham, Jr., otherwise known as Gic0e (pronounced gee-co), has made empowering Black women and battling colorism within the Black community his advocacy.
The 19-year-old Durham based content creator and choreographer has amassed more than 151,000 Tik Tok followers in less than a year with content addressing the misogyny and oppression inherent in the spaces Black women navigate.
With the recent release of his single “LA Tease,” Gic0e is elevating his artistry and expanding the reach of his message. He joined Three Plus One Media for a follow up after his popular Live Cast appearance (included below in the event you missed it).
So much of your work as a social media influencer centers on educating your followers on the constructs of race and gender. What has inspired you to pursue this focus?
The main reason I’ve focused so greatly on educating my followers is because nobody on Tik Tok was really speaking about it in reference to Black Women, and if they were, nobody was really listening. So, I had to utilize my privilege as a male to amplify those voices more.
You have built a strong and coherent brand as a social media influencer by leveraging the Tik Tok app. How has Tik Tok given you a platform for your advocacy and how do you recommend that other people do the same?
I would say that in order to build a brand properly, you must first distinguish yourself, your niche, and then run with it. Personally, if that niche isn’t for the betterment of people or marginalized groups, then it isn’t entirely cohesive with making a difference in the world.
Our Generation Z community (those born between 1995 and 2010) have already been categorized as more cautious than millennials and more academic in their concerns. In one word, how would you define your generation and why?
Introspective. We’ve done consistent things to learn more about ourselves in reference to the world around us. We’re trying to understand our own traumas and issues deeper and why they affect us in the ways that they do. By understanding ourselves more, we’re more prone to question why the systems in place operate the way that they do, and why they haven’t been changed.
As you consider Generation Z, our Zoomers, what do you consider to be the greatest issue impacting your generation (the Zoomers)?
One of the greatest issues affecting my generation is dismantling the systems that were put in place by the prior generations and seeing the effects of them. The main reason you see Gen Z making up the scene of activism is because these systems affect us on a daily basis. We see what happens to our peers, we see the striking similarities within the prison industrial complex and the public school system; we see so many of these issues and we choose to actively call them out regularly for them to be changed. With many challenges also being intersectional, one of our greatest issues affecting us is the system that is in place.
One of the greatest issues affecting my generation is dismantling the systems that were put in place by the prior generations and seeing the effects of them.
Your live cast really was one of our most empowering. Both Tracey and Zack left feeling hopeful about our Zoomers and the role they will play in making our nation better in the years to come. What are three things you hope to achieve in the next ten years?
In the next three years, I’d like to have an established line of dance studios that specifically helps young dancers come in contact with industry choreographers who will mentor them and train them not only physically but mentally in how they can brand themselves.
I would also love to become an established and known artist whose music benefits Black Women, and is the catalyst as to how Black women should be represented when referenced in Hip Hop.
Finally, I would love to create a legacy by walking in my purpose of using my voice to aid those in need. My voice has changed countless lives in a positive way and has surprised me at how valuable people see it.
Gic0e’s single “LA Tease” achieves one of his aforementioned goals of creating music that uplifts Black women in hip-hop music. He currently serves his community as the program director for the Jalloh Training Academy which serves underprivileged student athletes.
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