A hometown hero, singer and activist, Raheem DeVaughn returned to D.C. to welcome the holiday season in alongside Macy’s with an unforgettable performance and message.
The department store held its annual Christmas Window Unveiling on Saturday, Nov. 18 at Macy’s Metro Center in Northwest bringing back childhood memories for the performer.
“My relationship with Macy’s is special,” he said. “I always remembered Macy’s from shopping there, my parents going there or just hearing about the parades that they do, the holiday festivities and the unveilings as Thanksgiving approaches.”
“I always thought it would be cool to be apart of one of these. This is the first time that I ever partaken in one of the unveilings and performances. I remember hearing about it last year and thinking man why didn’t they get me. But everything happens in its own time.”
“It’s humbling you know being a hometown hero, the energy and the fact that they are here it makes perfect sense.”
In theme with the spirit of the holiday season DeVaughn performed a holiday interpretation of ‘This Christmas’ along with his musical partner Wes Felton.
“We recently just released an album entitled ‘Footprints on the Moon,’ and we call ourselves ‘The Crossrhodes,’ Rhodes like the scholar and it’s very heavy, politically charged, socially conscious music.”
“In the spirit of the holiday we always think about eating good, buying gifts and going shopping, but for me it’s about being of service to the homeless, those who are displaced and people who are just having a hard time.”
DeVaughn believes that the percentage of those struggling are high not just in the District, but globally, which is why he does his part where he can.
“Ironically I’m coming from doing a turkey drive,” he said. “We did it with DJ Quick Silva and Tony Lewis Jr. who is a big community activist in the area as well as KitchenCray. We gave food to 300-600 families today alone and that’s stuff we do throughout the year.”
DeVaughn’s community work and reputation precedes him throughout D.C. and unlike many artists who resent the lack of support, DeVaughn feels the love from the people.
“As it relates to D.C. as far as the people are concerned we get a lot of love, but I would like to see the corporate side of D.C. support, excluding Macy’s,” he said.
DeVaughn insisted the local radio stations in the city could do a better job with supporting local artist, but he understands the business.
“It’s not to bash or beat anyone up, this is a very tough market to have your music played in and it feels extremely hard when you’re a local artist,” he said. “Part of that is due to the fact that D.C. radio dictates what the rest of the country is doing and what they listen to believe it or not.
“In the Radio One arena, the other sister stations around the country play close attention to what D.C. is playing so it makes it a very political thing,” he said. “The album that Wes Felton and I just dropped serves a whole other purpose it’s not just about entertainment. We’re not trying to seduce someone to the bedroom we’re out here trying to save lives through the microphone, community work, speaking engagements, nothing related to us being on stage and singing.
“I would love to see more of the powers that be supporting positive messages,” DeVaughn said. “As far as the people are concerned I get that love because of the vibration I put out, you get that back. And there may be some people that don’t love me, but I hope they at least respect the efforts that I do.”
With Christmas around the corner, DeVaughn does take the time to enjoy holiday classics like ‘Silent Night by the Temptations,’ but his all time favorite Christmas record is by R&B group Boys II Men.
“The dopest Christmas album to date is Boyz II Men’s ‘Christmas Interpretations,’” he said. “What I loved about that album is that it was all original songs with the exception of one or two. The songs were so good and it didn’t feel forced.”
As for his own Christmas album, DeVaughn said he’s working on it.
“I have a Christmas album that I’ve been sitting on for some years,” he said. “The album’s been in existence since 2010. The cool thing about making music as artist is we have vaults of songs. Regardless if it sits for 20 years, once you put it out, it’s a new record to the public. There will definitely be a holiday record at some point.”
For a man that gives so much of himself to his fans and community, he only has one special request for the holiday season.
“I would like for everybody who reads this interview to make a donation to the Love Life Foundation in hopes that we can continue to feed those and clothe those that are displaced,” he said. “So we can continue to advocate for women, children and men, fight domestic violence and continue our efforts and partnership with AHF which is the Aids Healthcare Foundation.
“When you make a donation, these are the things you support,” he said. “That would be a great Christmas gift for me.”
For more information, go to http://lovelifefoundationdmv.org.