Artist, Actor, and Activist, Mikel Ameen is anything but your average Joe. Hailing from North London, this entertainer extraordinaire is making moves. From performing in the House’s of Parliament to impressing Alicia Keys with his outreach programme. They say that talent runs in the family and this is certainly the case in the Ameen household.
Mikel brother of actor Aml is on a mission to change the world for the better with his very own form of edutainment.
Flavour caught up with Mikel to discuss his EP Gift Rap, youth empowerment, and sisters.
Coming from a talented family did you always want to pursue a career as an entertainer?
I think I was pursuing it before I even knew what pursuing something was. In my house performing was like apart of our daily routine. But I only started to take my career seriously when I was 19.
It seems some of the recent music produced by UK artists is negative. What inspires your positive attitude in your music?
My attitude in my music is just a reflection of the way I actually live my life, so I can’t lie and act like something I’m not because at the end of the day I have to listen to my music. I MUST reflect MY truth & reality in my songs…
How did the EP come about and what’s your favorite track?
This E.P was so spontaneous its not even funny, I initially was going to put out just 3 songs and then 3 turned to 13 and I had an E.P. My favorite song really depends on what mood I’m in, currently its “NO GOOD TO SAY”.
On the track Dark n Lovely you talk about dark skin girls not loving themselves? Why do you think this maybe the case?
I think its women or even people in general. I feel we really get lost in what commercial media has to say about OUR beauty. I love my sisters and I want them to know they are beautiful the way they are. I realize women, especially black women have it REAL hard in society so I’m just speaking to them in that tune and saying “fix up and be yourself”.
As well as rapping, you appeared in the groundbreaking drama W10 LDN. What else can we look forward to seeing you in?
Well look out for a new short film written by my bro Aml Ameen for AMEENDREAM ENT. Called Drink Drugs & KFC that’s going to be big this year and also some more features in the pipeline are coming watch this face lol.
You’ve been quite involved in raising awareness regarding the HIV/ Aids pandemic through workshops touring the UK. What made you decide to get involved?
Other than the fact that I love connecting with the youth, I really wanted to learn more about the HIV/AIDS pandemic and dispel some of the myths that surround it. The virus is a SERIOUS killer and it truly does affect everyone regardless of background or gender.
Due to your charity work Alicia Keys invited you to New York to attend her world famous Black Ball; what was it like?
It was amazing to just be there for that occasion I saw so many celebrities the whole set up was just grand and it was my 1st time in U.S so it was definitely a historical event for me.
You recently did a spoken word performance for MP’s at the Houses of Parliament; how did that come about and have there been any positives development’s of the back of your visit?
That came as a result of me winning a Big Challenge award, they were having a conference / celebration in the houses of parliament and invited all the winners of Big Challenge amongst other groups to join and because they knew I was a performer they asked if I would like to showcase a rap so I happily obliged. I have definitely made some strong connections with people including the speaker of the house who now is aware of me and my organization
For anyone that thinks that get familyar is a Clinton Sparks tagline, break it down and tell us what your organization is all about.
Well GetFamilyar is a community & youth empowerment organization that I had set up in 2009. We do commercial & community live showcases, artist development, creative & performing arts workshops and mentoring programs, in a nutshell we are all about bringing the wider community closer together and creating a fun socially cohesive environment for everyone. We are currently running programs in the borough of Barnet for 14 -21 yr olds so all interested need to apply.
Where would you like to be in five years time?
Sitting on top of the world with a pineapple and coconut juice lol. Seriously speaking – I see myself performing in front of 100,000 people and changing the world for the better.
Last but not least what are the Top 5 tracks in your playlist?
Apart from my own music it would be:
1. Neon valley street – Janelle Monáe
2. Zimbabwe – Bob Marley
3. She needs me – Kendrick Lemar
4. It’s your world – Common
5. Never Forget you – Noisettes
That’s just if I had to pick.
Interview by Evelyn Otokito