In celebration of Black Music Month this June, we had to include the good work of another Seattle Central District leader, Amir Islam, Executive Director of The Residency. Islam has deep roots in Seattle's music scene, as well as being a multimedia artist and community organizer, and GRAMMY Recording Academy member. Formerly the Community Projects Manager for Grammy Award-winning artist Macklemore, (who co-founded The Residency with our friend Jonathan Cunningham), and co-founder of the Black-led social justice movement, the United Hood Movement, Islam came on as The Residency's ED in 2017. Since then, he has helped to shape the youth hip-hop artistic development program through its year-round programming and intensive workshops each summer.
As a leader and mentor, Islam has worked to break down barriers to equitable arts learning and so much more. With a family background in music that surely helped shape his own path—some of his elders were pioneers of the Seattle funk and soul scene as members of Cold Blood & Together—hip-hop culture became the vehicle that transformed his own young life and gave rise to his current role at The Residency. Providing opportunities for young artists from low-income families to acquire professional artistic skills and experience is nothing short of inspiring.
We have all reaped the benefits of his work as we watch The Residency alumni collaborate with other big-name musicians and take stages across the city and country. Part of The Residency's programming even works to bring participants on trips to meet music industry professionals as well as provide college funding through their Resilience College Scholarship Fund. Amir Islam's mentorship and commitment to our youth are directly creating the next generation of professional artists and cultural change-makers, and we are here for it! Thank you for all you do. ASÉ!