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Beat dropping BW alumnus connects lyrics to racial justice

Photo of Wesley WilliamsMusic can be so much more than just a background for life. It can help change the world.

BW public relations and urban studies alumnus Wesley Williams '17 has his own music label, The On My Way Company, and his lyrics are helping people understand the struggle that is going on in American Black communities.

The evocative, relevant music and lyrics are catching ears in high places. His music was featured in The Freeform series "Grown-ish" last year.

On his latest album, "In Case You Were Wondering," Williams has a song titled "Clockers" (note: explicit lyrics) that draws parallels between the crack epidemic of the 1980s and the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protests of 2020.

Williams says, "I felt like it was essential to highlight the fact that although the Black community has made progress, there are still people and institutions that are working against us."

Persisting with passion

Artists like Williams can find it tough to break through in the music industry. Williams wants to stay true to himself and his beliefs, one of the main reasons he started his label.

He references the power of belief and persistence in the song "M.O.T.S.B. (Move On To Something Better)" which includes the lyrics, "[The] same way that you came in, that's the same way that you can leave / Keeping this vehicle rolling despite all the people that didn't believe."

Williams says, "There will always be doubters and non-believers, but you just have to push through it and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel."

Dialogue and immersion fuel creation

BW's academic excellence and campus life are what drew Williams to the school. He credits the foundations of his success to the influence of professors like Julie Miller and experiences like the Urban Semester community engagement program.

Miller says he helped to foster conversations in the classroom and model dialogue in healthy ways. The Urban Semester, spent living in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood of Cleveland, opened his eyes to the vast differences between affluent and impoverished communities in the Cleveland area.

"Those experiences carry over to how I digest, write and dissect subject matter for the creation of my own music," said Williams.

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