Photo: www.peace-not-war. org
This summer, we will feature the words from enthusiastic winners of What About Peace? contest and we’ll share their thoughts behind the incredible art they presented and what this big win means to them. These anecdotes not only showcases their art pieces but also encourages fellow students to come up with great entries for the new school session. The following is the third installment of our What About Peace? winner story series.
The world seems to be a messy place these days. It is indeed in a state of turmoil. Many U.S. observers look at the world- downing of Malaysia airliner being a target of ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, deadly violence in Gaza, deteriorating civil war in Syria-and see a planet unraveling. The tumult is scary and to see thousands of innocent lives confronted with bloodshed is indeed heartbreaking.
While friends and family gather around the streets, hold candle light vigils calling for peace, one of our winners of the ‘What About Peace’? contest also extends his ‘Peace Anthem’. His message has a different style altogether but it completely resonates with the present situation.
16 year old Mac R Whaley from Minnesota, USA writes:
Without world peace the world is falling to pieces
Without our beliefs, man, nobody preaches
Without a cease fire, the fame never ceases
Without the death of war, the death number increases
Why’s the world gotta be like this?
Through his beautifully crafted poem with rap lyrics, Mac questions the present state of affairs and encourages all to take action.
Mac R Whaley was the winner in the written category of our ‘What About Peace’ contest. He is no ordinary writer but is a rapper in the making. He writes verses to instrumentals and pens down his experiences in life. He says his strength lies in hip hop music which is definitely evident from his poem. What needs an applaud here is that he is only 16 and is coming up with his mixtape titled ‘A Record of Therapy’ next month.
Congratulations on your great win! Tell us your first reactions when you got to know that you have secured the first prize.
I was told through my friend Brennan. He texted me after I was getting fitted for a tux saying “You won 300 dollars”. I was incredibly confused and he told me it was through the WAP contest. I thought it was really cool.
The Peace Anthem written by you has a very different style to it. It all rhymes in a rapper style which is quite interesting. What made you write a peace message in this style?
I like to create my own music whenever I have time to. I was sitting in study hall one day and I decided that I would write for the Peace contest. I already had experience writing verses, so I thought I would do it in that structure.
If you were to define Peace in one line without using rhyming words-How would you do it?
I define peace as the period of time where two opposing parties no longer struggle against each other. Peace is a state of being, where struggles have been overcome, and agreements have been reached.
What is your preferred writing style and on what issues you enjoy writing about the most?
I write verses to instrumentals, which usually call for 16 bars. I just write to whatever the beat calls for. If it’s 20, I write 20 bars. 12, I write 12. But normally, instrumentals are 16. I write whatever I feel, or whatever is going on in my life. I cannot write about experiences I haven’t gone through, and I encourage other writers/rappers/poets to avoid doing so. In August, I will be releasing a mixtape titled “A Record of Therapy”, which will include songs about tough times of depression, anger, and, most of all, loneliness. In the past, I have written on drug use, suicide, love, heartbreak, and stories.
What do you think makes a good poem?
Although I am unfamiliar in the art of poetry, I enjoy hip-hop music. I critique verses, songs, and even full albums based on 4 components- lyrics, flow, delivery and production.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
My two favorite things outside of writing are sports and hip-hop. The two intertwine together. Much like sports, hip-hop has a sense of competition and debate that I find in no other genre of music today. Some of my favorite albums are The Eminem Show by Eminem, Illmatic by Nas, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by KanYe West and Together/Apart by Grieves. In order to improve myself as a lyricist and technical rapper, I have to study those who succeeded as such. My influences are Nas, Grieves, Tech N9ne, Eminem, and Slug of Atmosphere.
As I finished interviewing Mac, my belief in music and its power to bring peace only grew stronger. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love, music proves: We are the same.
We wish Mac R Whaley success in his life and may we all take a step forward to pray for peace and make this world a peaceful and beautiful place for all…
What About Peace? is a Global Exchange international arts contest for youth ages 14–20 to express ideas and thoughts about peace by responding to the question, “What About Peace?” through artistic expression.
This post was written by social media intern Sakshi Pathania.