Mahogany Jones to release ‘Pure Volume 1’
By Malia Gaddy
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Preparing for the release of her new album, “Pure Volume 1,” Detroit emcee Mahogany Jones stands out as a positive female influence during the global transition in hip hop culture, which focuses on redefining the natural feminine presence within hip hop and urban communities.
“It does feel really good this album is coming out while it seems as if our collective consciousness is coming to a place of wanting to just embrace this original state of what beauty is and the value in it,” says Jones.
In 2004, the New York native and four-time undefeated BET Freestyle Friday champion made Metro Detroit her home. Now, as an active community leader and youth mentor, Mahogany Jones works as a part of organizations such as 5e Gallery: The Foundation Collective and the InsideOut Poetry Literary Arts Project — using hip hop and the creative arts to promote positivity and acceptance.
“That’s what Pure is about,” said Jones, who released her debut album, “Morphed,” in 2008. “The essence of it is truly that people can embrace the beauty and the value that comes with cultivating who we are in our core essence. And we don’t have to wrap it up, we don’t have to sell it short, we don’t have to prostitute ourselves in order to be valued. It just celebrates women coming into themselves. I’m beautiful as I am; I don’t have to give myself away and I don’t have to be disrespected to be respected.”
In her 2012 trip to Rwanda as a musical ambassador for a U.S. State Department-sponsored American Music Abroad Program, Mahogany Jones experienced how the commercialized aspects of hip hop have become reflective of the whole genre in foreign lands.
“Some of that power was great! And some of that power was really disheartening of hip hop,” Jones told the Michigan Citizen. “I saw a lot of people just mimic all the negative things about hip hop. I saw a lot of people more so identifying with the opium and weed like that by being gangsters”
With the release of “Pure Volume 1,” Mahogany Jones plans to re-implement lost values for both women and men in the name of hip hop.
“I think the media has done a wonderful job of telling us we are not enough,” she says. “You need this product, you need this outfit, you need this gym, you need this plastic surgeon, you need this many men, you need to be available to all of these men in order to be considered valuable, and you need to be available to them men sexually in order to be valued at all. We’ve bought into being commodified and then expendable. This project is for people. I’m talking about uplifting and empowerment, I’m talking about having a relationship with God, I’m talking about enjoying life, I’m talking about just being real. How about just being real? You can tell a different story. Hip hop is here so you can actually tell your story.
“How about, hip hop is liberating enough for you to actually be yourself.”
“Pure Volume 1” will be released Feb. 4, and Jones plans to organize a national tour visiting women’s shelters, community centers, schools, high schools and colleges.
“‘Pure’ also comes with a curriculum — we cover a lot of topics like surviving domestic violence, surviving rape, self-esteem, respecting men, healthy relationships between men and women, and fatherhood. I definitely want people to turn up, but I really want people talking more.
For more information on Mahogany Jones, visit www.mahoganyjones.com or contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.