AUSTIN, Texas — Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone is the founder of DAWA, a grassroots organization that stands for Diversity And Wellness in Action. A movement, Mahone says, is focused on supporting and highlighting creative artists of color in the Capital City.
Jonathon “Chaka” Mahone, founder of DAWA. (Spectrum News 1/Lakisha Lemons)
“The reason we want to do this is because of the obstacles I’ve faced as a creative, so everything that I felt that should be here is here and if it’s not, we’re going to bring it here,” said Mahone.
Mahone believes access is key for content creators. With the launch of DAWA, he plans to provide artists with a space to express themselves free of charge.
“Anyone who lives in the city who’s like me, who’s creative and has drive this [studio] is going to take them faster and quicker than they can even imagine,” explained Mahone.
The donation-based studio is in Downtown Austin. The space comprises a podcast room, 3-camera setup and the ability to record music and edit video in real time.
Twenty-three-year-old Antojuan Maurvice Spoons Jr. is an artist who raps and plays the saxophone. Following a two-year hiatus from the studio setting, Spoons says, he’s happy to be back in a creative space.
“I didn’t always have the funds. I worked two jobs while I was in school. My parents helped me get through school, but I also have to work multiple jobs to afford studio time. Studio time was sometimes $60 an hour just to work with somebody decent,” said Spoons.
BIPOC creatives who are interested in the no-cost studio can apply for the program online at www.dawaheals.org.
“I feel like DAWA is medicine, and it’s going to bring a lot of life and a lot of energy, and I feel that the next generation of artists and creators are going to be coming out of here. They will bring an international name to this city and people are going to really see the incredible talent that lives here, who are also people of color,” stated Mahone.