In celebration of Black History Month 2022, Arts Help is partnering with Canadian music non-profit Waveland to highlight over twenty up-and-coming artists as part of our Black Artistry Series, a year-round initiative showcasing Black talent. Each artist featured in this year’s event is performing in Waveland’s Black History Month Virtual Music Festival and giving an exclusive interview with Arts Help.

Toronto-based Indie-R&B artist Malaika Khadijaa loves everything to do with the arts, enjoying creative past times such as photography and crocheting. Having been making music for the past four years, she most recently released an EP called "18".

In the following interview, Khadijaa discusses her inspirations, the causes she is passionate about, and how music can transform the world.

What inspired you to get into music?

I’ve always loved to sing, and at 15 I was able to perform for the first time on a huge stage with a live band, and that feeling inspired me to keep creating. In the last four years, I have grown and changed so much, and I think you can hear it within my music. Today, I take inspiration from all aspects of my life and identity.

Do you have a go-to song or artist that you’ve been listening to lately?

Cleo Sol and her album Mother have me hooked. "23" is my favourite song right now.

Why do you think music is such a powerful tool for creating positive change?

Music is a universal language and is shared by all cultures and people around the world. Music has the power to heal, to bring people together. Through melody and poetry, we’re able to share important information and shared experiences.

Guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Arts Help believes that art is a vehicle for social change. Out of the 17 SDGs, which one are you the most passionate about?

I'm most passionate about Goal 2: Zero Hunger. Food is necessary for survival. Witnessing how some communities and cultures waste food while others are terribly malnourished is extremely disheartening. At the bare minimum, I believe everyone on earth should have equal access to nourishing food.

What steps can we take to make the music industry a more inclusive space for everyone?

I believe that if we were more willing to collaborate and genuinely support one another, it would not only create a more inclusive space but would elevate the art being created. It would also encourage more people to pursue careers within the music industry.

Follow Khadijaa on Instagram and listen to her music here. For more info, see her website.

Check out Khadijaa’s video for the LYRICALLY x Waveland series on the Arts Help YouTube channel and follow the Black Artistry Series on social media with the hashtag #ArtsHelp365

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