FLINT, MI — The moment his feet touched the soil during a life-changing visit to Egypt, Africa in 2018, community advocate DeWaun Robinson was heartened to the sense of duties he witnessed Africans hold in their communities.
Accompanied by his mentor Dr. Anthony Brown, he was inspired to cause a ripple effect in the city of Flint.
“That changed my life,” Robinson, 31, says. “In our culture, where we come from in our lineage, we give those young people charges in the community. Whether you’re watching over the women in your community, watching the animals, you charge the young people with their role in their community. They’ll still grow up and develop their idea of what they want to do but they have a job as it relates to service us.”
Robinson moved to Detroit where he lived for eight years before returning to his hometown in 2013. His background in the music industry had him working alongside Hip-Hop artists such as the late MC Breed and Bone Thugs N Harmony but he wanted to make a meaningful impact in his hometown.
“Coming back to Flint in 2013 with a new perspective on life, I just wanted to help,” Robinson says. “I did enough with tearing up things around here and making things worse than they already were. My whole outlook and initiative were to make things better.”
In 2014, he started his social enterprise organization Artistic Vision Enterprise – with the mission of working with the youth and creating systemic programs that will serve them in the future. In the same year, he ran for the school board because he “didn’t like the direction” it was heading and made the top four with more than 5,000 votes.
His passion for his community has given him a purpose he describes as “gratifying to the soul” as he participates in engagements including political campaigns and established a networking hub for young artists, public speakers, entrepreneurs, vendors, and organizations to congregate. Robinson also extended his work into education with a “Rights of Passage” program in schools such as Southwestern Classical Academy and Hamady Community High School.
“With the groundwork with the youth, it’s very important that we establish some relationships and provide them with opportunities and options as they develop,” Robinson said.
He adds, “We gotta break down those barriers of not being able to work with each other but show the world that when we do work with each other, we got this!”
Robinson expressed his excitement for what’s to come in 2019 with the Juneteenth, the Independence Day for African Americans, from June 15-19 at the Riverfront in Downtown Flint. The first event was The Spotlight: New Flint that debuted on Jan. 26 at the Greater Flint Arts Council, 816 S. Saginaw Street. The ceremony honored the activists of the Flint Water Crisis.
“It’s all about action! We can talk all day but my thing is about action.”
For more information, like Artistic Visions Enterprise on Facebook.