Che had the opportunity to interview Shad as part of his Art Is Power series on Huffington Post, a column where Che Kothari asks artists to succinctly define the power of art.
In case you haven’t heard the best news for the arts in Toronto in a long time, let me be the one to catch you up. The Billboard Tax for the arts has been long in the works, and has finally become a reality, thanks to the many artists and cultural leaders who advocated for it. This “third party sign tax” means all those billboards you see occupying our city streets and highways will actually be filtering millions into arts and culture and the beautification of our city. This is a huge win for Toronto, which has been massively underfunding the arts in comparison to other cities in a similar realm around the world.
Shad is one of the artists who came out to lobby for the much-needed tax to go towards the arts. He’s an ideal person to speak to decision-makers about art, because he fulfills the fantasy about what an artist is and defies the stereotype at the same time. He’s the guy who rubbed a couple of sticks together to make it, who started out as a fan, recording his first album with the winnings of 91.5 FM’s Rhythm of the Future competition in 2005. He also has a business degree AND his masters, is fluent in both official languages, and is known for lyrics dissecting political and social issues with as much flavour as an extra spicy Gandhi Roti. In fact, some of his rhymes touch on a subject that’s been on my mind, defining the power of art.
You can read this interview with Shad on Huffington Post.