Detroit Heroes: Jaye Green

Detroit Heroes: Jaye Green

Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit

During these uncertain times, we can lean on hope! We are starting a new series entitled "Detroit Heroes" where we will highlight the essential workers at the City of Detroit ensuring we are safe and our city is running! 

“I'm trying to get things right, build a monopoly, but folks want to freeze me up, they try to fossil me, got this knowledge in my head, street Socrates.”

Jaye Green, a Detroit emcee and artist, wrote those lyrics while incarcerated.  “I drew a lot. I wrote three to four songs every day. For extra money I would even draw on envelopes.” 

After losing his mother when he was just 10 years old, Green also lost his way, getting into trouble.  Eventually, he ended up spending a year in jail at the age of 19.

To this day, Green, who attended College for Creative Studies, credits creativity for turning his life around.

But can creativity really provide a sense of purpose in our lives? According to an article in Psychologies Magazine, it can. 

“Taking the time to use our hands, minds, and energy doing something we enjoy and that makes us happy, is of highest importance in life,” says psychotherapist, Nicola Vanlint.

Green couldn’t agree more, as he believes art can change a person’s mindset and even how they view the world. To that end, he started the De’FACTION Project; a program designed to engage youth and spread their art throughout the City of Detroit. The eventual goal is to expand outreach to Detroit Public Schools Community District.

But as schools are now closed and life, as we know it, has changed, many students and even adults are left uninspired. These circumstances can also cause a higher risk of depression. Green was compelled to step in.

He recently started the Sunday Swiggle, a series to get people in the creative mode. “It provides some arts, music, laughs to the community, so people can be empowered to continue to create during these troubling times,” Green said.

Sunday Swiggle consists of video tutorials that can be done at home. Topics include one-point perspective drawing, painting, and more.

As Detroit creatives struggle during this time, Green offers these tips to help jumpstart creativity:

  • Embrace/rediscover what makes you happy
  • Research (something new or intriguing)
  • Change mental diet (is what you're taking in beneficial for you?)

And as we’re bombarded with news during the COVID-19 crisis, Green’s advice is to stay informed by credible sources but don’t over-consume.

Not only does Green endorse creativity, he sees it as an important tool in finding one’s identity. He doesn’t want outside influences to send other young people down the wrong road.    

“I really just want them to be their own person, and creativity will allow them to express themselves.  Creativity will allow them to just be them,” Green said.

Green says his mother and grandmother were always helping others, and that’s what motivates him to help young people, especially during this crisis.

He likes to say, “I didn’t choose the game; the game chose me.”

For COVID-19 resources, call the Detroit Health Department Hotline at (313) 876-4000 or visit the City's COVID-19 response page here.

Learn more about De’FACTION Project and Sunday Swiggle here.