Ti Akiel on his music, Give ‘N’ Grow and Still I Rise

Ti Akiel is a busy man between his music (think rap meets R&B), a budding nonprofit microlender called Give ‘N’ Grow and a community campaign that supports the nonprofit and participating community members called Still I Rise. He is also a delight!

Ti has a positive attitude and a drive to help his community. Talking to a few folks about 2020 in Minneapolis, it seems like the “fight of flight” response has turned into a fix or forget dichotomy. Ti runs to fix – or to help people fix themselves. He and his group responded to the community outrage and need last summer with a large drive for donations. They met people with what they needed. Ti mentioned that he too had received help as a kid so he helped people realize that they are not alone. He seems to understand that investment in people has a good return on investment.

Those early drives were incredibly successful. They built a sense of community and met a need. They are in the process of formalizing their nonprofit work. Part of that process has been the creation of Still I Rise, an amazing campaign that lifts up individuals by telling the story of how they are rising in 2021. They are the stories of regular people, but as we talked about in the interview – regular people can be superhuman and superhumans have a regular side. The campaign includes a striking black hoodie that says “Still I Rise.” Proceeds from the sale of hoodies supports Give ‘N’ Grow. (And yes, Still I Rise is inspired by the poetry of Maya Angelou.

Finally, Ti is a musician. His style is a mashup of rap meets R&B. It’s lyric forward but smooth and steady. He has a maturity that surpasses his actual age. The video for Just Another Interlude is worth checking out. Ti thanks the people around him for making his ideas work. They do a nice job of lifting each other.

My lasting impression of Ti is him talking about spending the last six month asking – who do I want to be? It might be what I ask myself for the next six month; I hope I do as well as Ti at figuring it out!

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