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Lachi: Disrupting the Music Scene with Unstoppable Force

Lachi Disrupting the Music Scene with Unstoppable Force_3
Photo Courtesy: Lachi / @lachimusic

By: Lauren Gonzalez

Welcome to the pulsating realm of Lachi, where music transcends mere sound, becoming a force of change. With a spirit as daring as her chart-topping tracks, she’s dismantling barriers and reshaping the landscape of the music industry. From her soul-stirring collaborations to her unapologetic advocacy, Lachi epitomizes the power of passion in every chord she strikes. Prepare to witness the dawn of a new era in music—one defined by authenticity reigning supreme and inclusion as the anthem of transformation. This is not just a revolution; this is the unstoppable force of Lachi.

The Unstoppable Force of Inclusion

If Lachi isn’t on your radar yet, you’re overlooking a powerhouse. She’s collaborated with icons like Alicia Keys and apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas, penned books, spearheaded influential networks, and captivated audiences on prestigious stages like TEDx—and her journey is far from over. With a forthcoming book (“I Identify as Blind”) and a collaborative album (“Mad Different”) slated for release this spring, alongside her accolade as USA Today’s 2024 Woman of the Year, Lachi stands as a formidable presence in the industry. And let’s not forget, she’s a legally blind Black woman, proving that boundaries are meant to be shattered.

Born into a bustling household of seven siblings to Nigerian immigrant parents in Upstate New York, Lachi’s bond with music blossomed early. Within the walls of her home, her disability was just another facet of life. Beyond those walls, she encountered a society designed for the sighted. Music became her sanctuary, a realm where she could express herself freely and hone her other senses. This unique vantage point fueled her creativity, propelling her towards a successful career in recording. Yet, it came at a price: concealing her femininity, ethnicity, and disability. Establishing an accessible home studio became her refuge from industry scrutiny. As the world evolved, Lachi emerged as a formidable advocate, challenging stereotypes and reshaping global perspectives.

Lachi Disrupting the Music Scene with Unstoppable Force

Photo Courtesy: Lachi / lachimusic.com

Spotlight on Black Disability History

“There is a profound intersection between Blackness and disability,” declares Lachi, shedding light on a history often overlooked. Before the emergence of iconic figures like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, a former slave named Tom Wiggins made waves as a blind, autistic pianist and composer, emerging as the highest-grossing pianist of the 19th century—no qualifiers necessary.

The roots of the ADA owe much to Brad Lomax, a disabled Black Panther. Figures like Harriet Tubman and Harry Belafonte also grappled with disabilities, though their stories seldom grace the headlines. The reluctance to embrace this narrative is understandable: adding “disabled” to the already weighty labels of “blackness” or “brownness” in America is daunting. “It’s already challenging to navigate life as a Black individual in America,” Lachi explains. Opening up about mental health struggles only heightens that vulnerability. “These topics are often taboo for us, especially in the music industry, where we strive to maintain a certain image to those who hold power.”

Lachi Disrupting the Music Scene with Unstoppable Force_2

Photo Courtesy: Lachi / @lachimusic

Championing Authenticity and Inclusion

Nevertheless, winds of change are stirring. Prominent artists like Drake and Kendrick Lamar are openly discussing their battles with mental health, while Solange Knowles embraces neurodivergence. Audiences crave authenticity, and Lachi is at the forefront, advocating for a narrative that normalizes disability.

Amidst the upheaval of the George Floyd protests and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, Lachi emerged as a vocal activist, demanding industry-wide support for disabled artists. This activism culminated in the establishment of the Recording Artists and Music Professionals with Disabilities (RAMPD) in 2022, alongside Gaelynn Lea. Through RAMPD Lachi is reshaping the discourse and providing a platform for artists, activists, and allies alike. “It’s time to start acknowledging disability culture,” Lachi insists. “Not just through the lens of the traditional medical model, which treats disability as a personal problem to be fixed, but as a social model where we collaborate to create spaces that accommodate everyone in our communities.”

Shattering Industry Norms

Lachi’s mission extends to integrating disabled and neurodivergent voices at every echelon of the industry. “It’s one thing to feature disabled performers; it’s another to have individuals from our community making executive decisions and curating talent.” Facilitating these dialogues in an approachable manner is paramount, and Lachi’s authenticity makes her a maestro in this endeavor.

“I’ve never been anything but myself,” she chuckles. Her genuine self-acceptance is her superpower, transforming disability into a daily celebration with her bespoke “glam canes” and vibrant style. Lachi underscores that embracing one’s true self is the ultimate triumph. “More than anything, I’m trying to kill shame. When you can accept the deepest part of yourself that society is trying to tell you to be ashamed of, you win at life.” Through her work, she illustrates that disability is a wellspring of boundless creative potential. As she aptly puts it, “It takes a Black person to make disability a little doper.”

Published by: Martin De Juan

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