On an inspiring roll in the wake of three consecutive Top 15 Billboard Hot Gospel Songs. The Akron, OH based R&B/Hip Hop Group Half Mile Home blends funk, soul and “woke ness” on their dynamic upcoming single “I Won’t Judge” – a portion of whose proceeds will be earmarked for the Vitiligo Research Foundation (www.vrfoundation.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to finding and instigating research for the chronic skin condition across the world. We spoke to the group, and member Deaken in particular, who has Vitiligo, to get more insight on the disorder and the campaign as a whole.
VEU– For those who aren’t familiar with it, tell us what Vitiligo is—
DEAKEN– Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder, which causes loss of skin color in blotches.
VEU– Were you born with it, or did it happen over time?
DEAKEN– I was not born with Vitiligo. I began to notice it around 8 yrs old after a severe case of chicken pox.
VEU– Many people like to cover up their flaws as if they don’t exist. How did you gain the confidence to openly talk about your skin disorder and spread Awareness for others?
DEAKEN– Unfortunately many people do try and cover up their “flaws” while many others embrace their uniqueness. Myself I’ve always just enjoyed life, stood tall, and let my character define me as opposed to someone’s perception or based on what they may see physically.
VEU– Tell us about the Half Mile Home Campaign/ collaboration bringing awareness to the disorder
DEAKEN– We decided as a unit to write a song about vitiligo, it sparked our minds when a young lady stopped & starred at us when we we’re in the mall one day shopping for an event. At that moment we knew that we had to take the opportunity and a make this a movement.
VEU– The group also released a new song entitled “I Won’t Judge” . Talk to us about that and inspiration behind it.
DEAKEN– I really love the single mainly because I’ve been given the opportunity to enlighten and send a message while being the voice for millions and millions of people in the Vitiligo community. “I Won’t Judge” is direct and to the point and of course it’s personal.
VEU– What is the most important thing you want people to know about living with Vitiligo?
DEAKEN– The most important thing I want people to know is that living with Vitiligo is a journey with many bumps, curves, roadblocks, and maybe even a few stops, but NEVER a dead end. Never let it define you. Life is great! You can drive this thing or just enjoy the ride.
VEU– What advice do you have for other people who are dealing with Vitiligo, but still trying to become comfortable in their own skin? My advice for those dealing with Vitiligo is simple, embrace your uniqueness and love the skin you’re in.
DEAKEN– My advice for those dealing with Vitiligo is simple, embrace your uniqueness and love the skin you’re in.
VEU– As an inspirational group, what message do you all want to get across about self love, and awareness?
DEAKEN– It’s very important for all humans to understand that we all are who God made us, your skin color, size or nationality doesn’t determine your self worth. Each person have to love there self for you are who GOD made you. We all are BEAUTIFUL in a unique way. So know matter what enjoy the skin your in daily. God Bless us all