Josh Levi is a singer who got his start on season 3 of The X Factor. He wowed the judges with his rendition of Selena Gomez’s “Come and Get It,” and made it to the final eight — and he hasn’t slowed down since.
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He’s been acting (you’ve probably seen him on AwesomenessTV’s Royal Crush) and pursuing a solo music career, and his new spoken-word music video, “Dear Violence”, premiered today (!!). Below, Levi shares the story behind “Dear Violence” and reveals how young people can change the world.
By Josh Levi (as told by Dahlia Neeman)
This project is called “Dear Violence” because violence is a mass enemy. It’s not only a race thing, it’s not just a religion thing, it’s not just a gender thing. It’s everything. It affects everyone — no matter what you look like or do, violence is present.
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Violence always feels personal to me. So “Dear Violence” was very personal. As an artist, sometimes I can just open my eyes and see mass shootings, police violence, etc., and the only way I feel I can cope is by creating something that’s a response. Expressing my anger, frustration, confusion, and hurt.
A response to Charlottesville, a response to Ariana Grande and the violence that happened in Manchester, and all of these senseless murders, mass shootings, violence, and hate in general.
It’s hard for me to handle things that happen in the world because I’m extremely empathetic to any sort of hate or wrongdoing. I’m a black man, so I’ve experienced that firsthand. I’ve seen it happen with my family.
I feel like the only way I can get it out of my brain and out of my spirit is by writing it down.
Brokenness fuels creativity. Pain makes you a better songwriter.
I was inspired to create “Dear Violence” by artists like Beyonce, Solange Knowles, Kendrick Lamar, and the spoken word they’ve done. It has been really powerful for me. I decided to flex this new muscle and challenge myself and write something.
I would suggest watching “Dear Violence” a couple times, because there are many elements to it and so many pieces and aspects. Pay attention to all the footage that’s on the TVs — between discrimination and racism, to terrorism and war, it represents real events that are happening.
The moment in the video that gives me the eeriest feeling is me being stopped by the police. That’s when it’s real life. It was acting, but it wasn’t. It’s very real and one of my biggest nightmares.
I hope people feel inspired and not sad, the way that I was after I watched pieces that inspired me to make this. Young people can really change the world by paying attention, or “staying woke.” The most powerful thing is for young minds to be aware of what’s happening in the world.
Know what’s going on and have an opinion; form an opinion. Using your voice is the most powerful tool. Say whatever is on your heart and how you feel about it.