Julie C, also known as Julie Chang Schulman, is an explosive lyricist, educator, and Hip Hop community organizer. She has served as an education committee member of Hip Hop Association, and as a Northwest Regional Coordinator of Hip Hop Congress. In addition to this, she has also served on the board of Reclaim the Media, taught Hip Hop and media literacy through El Centro de La Raza’s Hope for Youth Program, Seattle Urban Debate League, and Umojafest P.E.A.C.E Center, as well as written freelance and for the publication the People’s Tribune. Her lesson plans integrating Hip Hop and basic skills education were published in the first ever Hip Hop Education Guidebook, Volume 1, released in 2008 by the H2ed Hip Hop Association Initiative, and she was a finalist for the King County Hip Hop Excellence Award in Activism in 2009. She is currently working on youth empowerment and violence prevention through founding Allied Washington Youth and Cultural Service Coalition (AWAYCC), a direct action, advocacy, and leadership development group.
1. In your own words, who is Julie C?
A part of the change, by means of loving, teaching, learning and integrating knowledge, writing and synthesizing, bridge-building, emceeing, and being. I’m a daughter, sister, auntie, cousin, granddaughter, niece, and a good friend. I’m a bit of a rabble-rouser, but only because complacency is so common place in our day and age.
2. What drives you to be successful?
The thrill of knowing I’m on my path.
3. Finish this sentence “In five years I will be…”
Five years wiser, stronger, and clearer.
4. What artist or artists influence you and your music?
I draw inspiration from so many places, but the short answer is my community. The par of artistry in Seattle is tremendous and that excellence is definitely motivational. Practically and stylistically, my crew Alpha P, has been probably the biggest influence on my music. Founded in 95, its one of the largest and oldest emcee crews in the city, and in my humbly biased opinion, cats aren’t really fucking with us when it comes to rapping. My brother Suntonio Bandanaz has been a major influence on me, not only in style, but in staying true to myself and the global movement in content and action as well. Jerm Dee is another cat who’s had a major influence over the past decade. He and I are in a group called Knox Family with Mia Styles aka B Girl, who as a force of nature has been another very inspiring person to me, and who’s really gone the extra mile to help put my music out properly. But going back even farther, my father, Randy Schulman, is a phenomenal comedy/bluegrass/rock musician, and my uncle, Mark Schulman is an accomplished and renown drummer. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by ridiculous talent and creativity my whole life.
5. How can be or how is Hip Hop used to further the education of everyone, especially the youth?
I wrote an article earlier this year called “How Can Hip Hop Save the World? Lessons from a Seattle Youth Service Scandal” which touches on what I think about this. There are examples of Hip Hop artists, collectives, and/or organizations doing amazing work in the majority of cities on this planet, and the most effective of these recognize Hip Hop as a means, not an ends. Problem is, Hip Hop, at it’s very best and worst is nothing more than a perfect microcosm of the mess we call human civilization in the globalized age. Although in its essence, it is a powerful, accessible tool for communication, youth engagement, community building, and self-expression, Hip Hop, even on the grassroots community level still has its greedy Wall Street bankers, its self-interested politicians, its corporate interests, its media conglomerates, its extremists/cultists, its demagogues, whatever is the equivalent archetype of our age. The real power of Hip Hop is the massive artist base, the people, the network, but we have to first deconstruct these archetypes to find clarity and collective vision. There’s a movement somewhere in there, but it’s going to take some critical self-examination, and a whole helluva lot of work.
I smile a lot, so it must be a lot of things. My students make me smile, because they say some really intelligent outrageous shit. One week I had a long discussion about the riots in Egypt with 3rd and 4th graders, and they were asking these amazing questions and making astute observations and commentary. The following week, the same class tried to vote down having a homework assignment. When I told them, “This classroom is not a democracy,” one student replied, “Tyrant! Dictator!” This was followed up by another kid shouting out, “Then we will protest until it is, like Egypt!” I wanted to hug and punch them at the same time.
7. Do you think chivalry is dead?
As a lyricist and English nerd, I looked up the etymology of “chivalry” to be precise with this answer. In the wiki entry, there was a quote from this guy Kenelm Henry Digby, who said “Chivalry is only a name for the general spirit or state of mind which disposes men to heroic actions, and keep them conversant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the intellectual and moral world.” Although Digby himself was kinda obsessed with the Middle Ages, I like this quote as a working definition. I don’t think this type of chivalry is dead, but I think that society has changed way more rapidly than any current model of heroism, warrior ethic, and accountability out there, which makes it difficult for individuals, men, women, transgendered, whatever, to grasp their varying roles and responsibilities on this planet as it relates to other people. This confusion tends to trickle down to our family lives, relationships, and general attitudes.
8. If you could do or be anything, what would it be and why?
I almost wanted to say, “A more disciplined version of myself doing what I do,” but even my struggle with discipline has its purpose. I believe everything has a reason, an order to the madness, and there are no existential short cuts. Still though, it’d be dope to know what something like “enlightenment” feels like.
9. What qualities do you expect a Webster Man to have or demonstrate?
Thorough and constantly evolving knowledge of self and society, plus the willingness to grow and give back.
10. What is one secret about women that you think all men should know?
Some of us actually rap! You can download my EP for free at juliec.bandcamp.com. But seriously, there aren’t really any secrets, we’re just people too, and we are all different from each other. We do like compliments though, especially sincere ones.