On a critical Election Day, it’s refreshing to see more and more celebrities utilizing their voices to get their fans to the polls. During what has been a tumultuous year for Americans, there’s been no better time to educate oneself on the social issues that surround our day-to-day.
“I see what’s going on. I had a rough background, so I experienced it my whole life,” Offset tells ESSENCE when asked about some of the recent headline-making injustices against Black lives. “I’ve been real active with voting to get the youth to change and switch up the game. We need it right now.”
While the Grammy-nominated artist is one-third of the rap superstar group Migos, the Atlanta-bred entertainer has set out on a solo mission to contribute to issues that have severely impacted himself and his community. “This is my first year to actually vote,” says Offset. “And I felt like I accomplished something by doing that.” Last week the artist performed at the Biden/Harris rally and he supports other initiatives like the Global Citizen rally with Alicia Keys and Kerry Washington. He also made an appearance during a special “Path To The Polls” segment with D-Nice. “I understand some of us may not have all the knowledge on what’s going on because before this I wasn’t all the way into politics but, let’s do something right one time as one together,” Offset added.
From presenting a fashion collection in Paris last February to actively raising $500k for cancer relief funds, there’s a lot more to Offset than his chart topping hits. ESSENCE got a chance to get ready with the rapper for Halloween to talk about his recent work gearing up to election day and what’s next on his agenda.
ESSENCE: Within the last few months, you’ve been active on spreading the word out to vote. Why has that become an important topic to you?
Offset: I’ve been active with the voting movement because a lot of our youth haven’t been voting in Atlanta, so I’m just trying to show them a better way. Artists are stepping up a lot especially with the trap music era and I just wanted to really support it. I want the youth to feel how I feel.
Last year prior to election season you launched a 500k grant for cancer funds, how does it feel to tap into social issues outside of music?
It’s very important for me to use my voice. I touch on topics that mean something to me. My grandmother passed from cancer, so I’m with the American Cancer Society trying to raise 500 grand. I was also told that I wouldn’t be able to vote, so just being able to jump over the hurdles and things that I thought I wasn’t able to do. It’s never fake. It’s all organic. It’s just straight love for me.
You recently wrote on Instagram, “Black people having access to luxury, shouldn’t be a debate by the way, hip hop starts its trends”. Can you further explain what you meant?
Brands could be out for 30 years, and they won’t ever be as popular until we touch it. When we wear certain pieces, it becomes the hype. It goes up in value and they try to downplay it. I was reminding people that when we touch it, it goes to the ceiling. And that’s a fact. Whatever I wear, I have a million or 500,000 people that’s going to go try to get it.
Similar to when Migos came out with the song “Versace”, did you know the power of rap and fashion then?
After maybe about one year, I would say yes. I remember it was around 2015 and two years later, they had a shirt that said “Versace Versace Versace.” And of course we blew up from that song. We set the trends and take it to the next level. I’d rather work on wearing Chaz Jordan, which is another Black designer.
The collection you both presented in Paris, how did that come about?
We took our own money and designs and went to Paris to do a fashion show within one year. It was actually really successful. It was a fire experience to see what goes on inside and taking a risk on yourself. You respect it more instead of just being invited everywhere and sitting front row. Because a lot of people go to fashion week for the media and the look, so to take my actual money with me and Chaz and it to be a success on the first year. I picked out all the models, designed clothes, and styled the shoot. They were my actual personal shoes, rare ass shoes and samples.
Can we expect more of Offset diving into fashion?
We’re [Migos] working on an album so probably some well thought-out merchandise for right now because I can get that made in America. Due to COVID I’d rather wait until everything’s clear until I make the next collection. I might make a 12 piece capsule collection where I can get it made here. That’s about it though.
Photography + Video: Kadar Small