Artist and rapper Jai Raphael: “You Need to Stay Whole as a Person”


I was delighted to come across this article by Shannon Liao for The Epoch Times as it features the daughter of dear friends from Dominica and the Virgin Islands.

”You need art to stay whole as a person,” said 22-year-old Jai Raphael, a rapper who performed on Monday in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

“I feed my soul with art and Sigmund Freud,” rapped Raphael, “Keep calmness in my heart’s beat,” she continued with the rap she wrote herself.

Raphael, who hails from Brooklyn and the Virgin Islands, is also an artist for Girl Be Heard, a theater group for young women. “I paint, do poetry, I dance. Since I was a little kid, I did ballet,” she said.

Art for Raphael is part of her heritage—her mother was a poet, and her godmother was Audre Lorde, the Caribbean-American civil rights activist and feminist.

So she found it natural to perform at Monday’s press conference in support of the capital funding that freshman council member Laurie Cumbo worked to secure.

Twenty-two million dollars are heading into art projects in many parts of Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and the Botanic Garden are each receiving $5 million, the Brooklyn Museum collects $4.4 million, and among the other recipients are MoCADA, 651 Arts, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

BAM plans to upgrade its cinemas with the money, while the Navy Yard wants to expand its services. The Brooklyn Museum will give children an educative slab of the land.

Girl Be Heard is expecting up to around $70,000 in discretionary and direct funds, separate from the $22 million.

“We need this. So how could I not support it?” said Raphael of the funding Councilwoman Cumbo helped procure.

“Art is simply not being paid well enough,” she added, “The actors have just started getting paid and we put in work. I mean, I spend hours on songs, days…We spend months rehearsing and we don’t really get paid well.”

For the original report go to

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