If you ask Erika Badu, she’d say Chris Anderson is a skilled producer who she couldn’t pass up to collaborate on her critically acclaimed song “Honey.” If you ask the Seattle nightlife and entertainment scene, they’d say, “The launch night DJ.” If you ask an up-and-coming artist like Porter Ray, he’d say, “He’s in artist development.”
But truth is, Chris Anderson is a community and entertainment renaissance man.
The hip-hop artist, producer, DJ and motivational speaker is out to make a difference in the world, one city at a time through creating great entertainment events centered around Black and Brown culture.
Born and raised in Chicago, the artist was a street performer in New York, and from that was noticed by a number of the industry’s big names. He has since landed in Seattle at the close of a tour as a drummer with the band Gorillaz in 2010.
It was in Seattle that Anderson would start his more transformative advocacy work, working with the organization formerly known as “Black Umbrella.” Anderson worked there with community organizers mentoring troubled teens, conducting workshops, breakfast programs and an invested community advocacy mentorship.
His latest project is teaching the art forms of hip-hop and poetry to middle schoolers. His current teaching tour has him in Reno, Nevada, visiting six of the area’s middle schools. Anderson is taking his skills and success in the music industry and bringing it to the community and our youth in a powerful and impassioned way. He inspires the youth through his form of art, encourages them to reach for their very best, and gives them the early-set confidence to do it and to do it with love.
As a multifaceted artist, Anderson understands the power and profound importance of the arts and, more important, its function as an outlet at a pivotal moment in development.
Get ready, Seattle. Anderson is bringing his talent and heart to middle schools in the Seattle area in May. There, students can gain helpful tips to develop their craft in a non-competitive, collaborative space and have a little fun along the way. Who knows? Anderson might even DJ his own keynote event.
You can follow Anderson at his ever busy hashtag #WhoIsChrisAnderson.
Gui Jean-Paul Chevalier is a Seattle-based recording artist and author from rural Washington, living counter-small-town mind for the cause of humanity. Read previous columns from Gui.