Today we’d like to introduce you to Marcus Garcia.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Marcus. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a Brown, Queer, Hood Artivist and I started my work under my alias ‘GROOVYie’ over four years ago, providing a dynamic range of services for marginalized communities of color; DJ’ing, music, motivational speeches, podcasts, organizing, wellness workshops, etc.
I started writing music when I was eight years old as a means of processing my unstable upbringing in East Fontana, and eventually this awareness brought an interest in mental health for lower income, often criminalized, youth of color. No one really taught me how to cope with your stereotypical hood ass community, so I had to learn how to heal from a lot of hurt on my own.
I eventually received my B.A. in ‘Development of Wellness and Community Empowerment’ from the University of Redlands-Johnston Center for Integrative Studies. Through learning the importance of organizing as a means to bring power to people, and equipping that with the knowledge of how art impacts culture, and thus culture impacting community, it was obvious that artivism (art + activism) was my route.
At first, I was intimidated by my own passion – I had really never met many other artivists before college, and even in college I had no idea what type of work I should be particularly preparing for; what job titles do I apply for? How do I explain this passion to a group to help build community? There hasn’t been many systems set up for Artivism to succeed in the mainstream, so I guess I just had to make my own lane.
Once I committed myself to believing in my artivism, things began to flourish. Opportunities began to arise, and I started to find my artivist community. I would participate in events circulating around art + mental health (such as LA’s WeRise), host open mics with friends, organize as a means of fostering safety and inclusiveness in art spaces, DJ and perform my own music for social justice-centered events, record my podcast ‘GROOVY Radio’ to discuss racial dynamics to humanize race, perform motivational speeches in schools, and eventually find ways to apply my theories even in my jobs with non profit work performing wellness workshops with an emphasis on artistic expression with youth.
Today, I have performed my own music, DJ sets, motivational speeches, wellness workshops, etc. for groups all across The United States and plan on continuing my artivism en route to a PhD to become a consultant and professor.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely far from a smooth road. It’s really tough when you don’t know what you don’t know.
I think my biggest struggle has been accepting myself under this new aged concept of ‘artivism.’ I would look for validation a lot from people who just didn’t understand. I’m not exactly sure what I was looking to get out of them specifically, but I think I just wanted to be understood when I didn’t even understand myself.
I didn’t understand why I was so passionate about so many art forms at first. I felt very different for admitting to myself that I am a complex person with so many different interests. Not many people understand how they all integrate together and influence one another, art and activism, but I do.
Finding my own lane has for sure been the toughest struggle. There’s no real blueprint, major, system, person, anything that you can point to assure yourself that you’re doing it ‘the right way.’
But I’m very spiritual, so I let go and let God. I believe throughout it all, even when I don’t understand. Sometimes it’s just not for me to understand.
Please tell us about GROOVYie.
Performing many services as an entrepreneur under ‘GROOVYie’ is what I am most known for.
Through this, I am able to navigate so many different spaces (nonprofit work, schools, community centers, school districts, city/county government) and influence them all together as a means of community building and bringing awareness & solutions to wellness issues.
I specialize in youth development, public speaking, workshop facilitation, program/project management, mindful practices, and as mentioned before an array of art/entertainment services; DJ’ing, music, podcasts, speeches, etc.
I am most proud of bringing more interest and understanding of artivism to so many spaces. At first, a lot of people are hesitant to believing in the idea, but after a workshop or a show – they get the point. Art and artivism, they can really heal so much hurt for youth. I think emphasizing this taboo alone sets me and my services apart from others.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have taken a lot more risks in college, where there are so many safety nets for WHEN you fail. You can just brush it off and keep going. You can fail at something, and cry with an RA about it next door to you, or if you need more professional help – you can schedule a counseling session for free if you need funding for a project you can petition for it. You can just about do anything in college because so many opportunities and services are just given to you. If I would have utilized these services more, or at least just ask more questions, I would have known how to navigate this entrepreneurial world so much better. It’s really the small logistics at this point that can be taxing or difficult.
- Live DJ’ing services: $125/hour
- Performing music: $50/hour
- Wellness Workshop: $75/Hour
- Motivational Speech: $100/Hour
- Website: groovyie.com
- Phone: 9098388425
- Email: Marcus@groovyie.com
- Instagram: @groovyie