photo creds: Joshua Asante
(This is the fifth part of a six-piece series on the one-year anniversary of the release of the Bike Rack Records’ Summer Mixtape in 2019 (sponsored by Bike Rack Brewing). This interview features singer, songwriter, musician, and one half of the rock and soul band Dazz & Brie – Kabrelyn Boyce.)
It’s a human life thing…
I won’t say it’s not entirely a black – white thing, but it’s more of a human life thing. Color does matter, but what I mean by that is I’m not asking you to not be Democratic or Republican. I’m asking you to recognize that we are human beings and our lives are just as precious as yours and your family. That being such a hard concept for people to grasp is very frustrating to me. I just want acknowledgement that this is happening and it’s not ok.
I try to be diplomatic and I try to be a peacemaker. Even though I’m argumentative at times I still try make it where I leave a space for people especially if they’re ignorant about certain issues, but I’ve been getting very very exhausted. Lately I’m just tired of explaining. There are so many resources out there for people who may be confused. But at this point some people are just choosing to be ignorant because it’s uncomfortable, and I just don’t have the space for that anymore. There are always other truths out there, but I’m just having a hard time seeing the other side of this.
The Little Rock protests…
I went out to one (protest) in Little Rock. I had to be a little careful about going out because my grandma still lives with my parents and she suffers from COPD and asthma – lung issues, so I had to be very careful and selective as to what I was doing, but I did get to one.
photo creds: Milson Phoenix
One of my mom’s friends who is also my friend by default because we all work together sent us both a text message and you could tell she didn’t know what to say, which is an issue for a lot of white people right now. They just don’t know what to say. They don’t want to offend us, and they also don’t want to make light of it but they don’t know how to talk about it either so the conversations can be awkward. She just said ‘I miss you all and I love you.’ My mom replied ‘I’m not ok,’ and she (our friend) texted back a scripture. That could have been your window right there. It’s sweet to respond with scripture, but it’s not the right tool to use right now. There are times for that, but talk to me about it right now.
If you have little kids then you know Mickey Mouse has the “Mousekatools” and you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to dig a hole. So, I feel like we have to figure out what’s the tool we need to use right now for this moment.
The age of enlightenment…
I believe we’re in the age of enlightenment, and for the first time I see black people being informed and thirsty for information that hasn’t been easily accessible to us in the past. I’m seeing more and more threads about history. I’m seeing things about this is what you were told in your history class, but this is actually what was going on. You learned about “The New Deal,” but you didn’t learn about “redlining.” You learned about Martin Luther King, but not about Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. So I’m hopeful because people (myself included) are finally fed up enough to ask what is it that we need to be doing to shift this mentality, to shift this time.
But I do feel fearful about certain organizers, certain names. I’m fearful because they now have a target on their backs. There are also several reports about black people being hanged around the country that are being ruled as suicides, and I don’t feel like they’re suicides. I just don’t believe that. It’s just too coincidental and that makes me a little afraid. I’m heading back to L.A. soon and it will just be two women driving and I’m a little apprehensive as to what to expect if we get stopped. I got stopped the other day for speeding and I was a little nervous.
I won’t lie and say we’ll hold hands and there will be world peace anytime soon because there are still those fears and that apprehension. We’ve seen a lot so I am both hopeful and afraid.
The future and the past of Dazz and Brie…
I don’t want to speak for Dazz, but I know I’ll be going back and forth between Arkansas and Los Angeles in the future. It’s kind of bittersweet because we’ve been working very very hard to establish ourselves and our band. We have shows where we call people by name in the audience. We’ve created a family unit with Dazz and Brie and so that’s going to always be there. We’ll continue to do those shows but just not as frequently. L.A. is like being a little fish in a big ocean. It’s a little like starting over again, and I’m trying to get comfortable with that idea. I know that expansion is sometimes necessary for growth.
photo creds (left): Dominique Benedict (right top): Cameraman Stan, (bottom right): Sydney Rasche
(Starting out), we mashed together some covers and not very good ones. Afropunk was our first official show, because that was the first time we put together our songs that we wrote. Before that we had done two block parties – one in Atlanta, Texas where I’m from and another in Texarkana, Texas which is right up the street and I think we did some Bruno Mars, but it wasn’t a good song like “24k Magic.” It was something like “If I Was Your Man,” or something. They were not good songs to cover. They were just songs we actually knew so we definitely made some rookie mistakes.
Tough times are not new to us. My family has always been about helping one another out. The only reason it feels like a pandemic right now is because I haven’t been able to go out and make money like I normally do.
I realize that I relied heavily on my band mates to get my voice out, so I’ve started dabbling in production recently. I can’t get to the studio and I have these song ideas but they’re (bandmates) busy doing their own things. So I had to get over myself and my ego for a minute. Creating and experimenting has helped get me through this as well. I’ve had a MacBook for years and literally all I’ve ever done is just type letters and check email so now Dazz has been telling me ‘use your computer, get this app, and start working.’ So I’ve had a little tough love from Dazz the producer, but I’ve done about four or five songs just in the last week or so including “That’s How it Be.” My creativity has been overflowing lately and I’m so grateful for it. It’s made my mood so much better.
Revisit Dazz & Brie’s single “Concept 2.0” from the 2019 Bike Rack Records Summer Mixtape EP on Spotify.