When it comes to giving back to the community, Sean Mauricette, a.ka. Subliminal, is always the first in line ready and willing to provide his time.
In the last 14 years, the award-winning hip hop artist, actor, poet, University of Toronto architectural graduate and motivational speaker has never turned down an organization.
Subliminal, who last summer facilitated a one-week music production workshop for youth in Rexdale community, was recently recognized for his selfless service with a Planet Africa Award.
“This highlights a side of work that I do that I feel is often times invisible,” he said. “I just love working with young people and I have never said no, whether a group has a budget or not. I believe in giving back. In fact, this award has enabled me to reflect and really acknowledge everything I have done for the community since 1999 without ever thinking about it. When you find something that you love to do and you do it every day, you will never work a day in your life. I love what I do so much that I forget it’s work.”
In addition to providing young people with inspirational messages to embrace education, respect themselves and strive to attain their maximum potential, the “soul hop” artist has been captivating audiences for the past decade as a beat-boxer, disc jockey, lyricist and producer with his unique music style of hip hop merging with soul.
Subliminal collaborated with three-time Grammy-nominated producer Herb Middleton of NuVybe Records on his debut 17-track album, Trainathought, and his notable credits as an actor include Disney’s Jump In, the Sonny Liston’s biopic, Phantom Punch and a coveted feature role in an episode of CTV’s police drama, The Bridge.
The first recipient of the U of T’s Black Students Association Arts & Culture Award, Subliminal’s poems are used by the United States’ Southern Poverty Law Centre for their alternative learning curriculum for teachers across America.
While proud of his cultural accomplishments, he is on cloud nine after recently becoming a father.
“I am so excited,” he said. “I have been a father figure to many young people over the years and now to have one of my own is just amazing.”
Born in Mississauga, Subliminal is the son of a Grenadian father and Trinidadian mother.
“I grew up with both parents which is something that is absent in too many households across this city,” he said. “I know what it means for a parent to hug a child and relate how much they are proud of them. Sometimes, those things that might seem simple and trivial mean a lot.”
While his parents are his role models, Subliminal is an admirer of entertainer Bill Cosby whom he met last year. Dr. Steve Perry, the founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut which has sent 100 per cent of its predominantly low-income, minority, first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges annually since its first class graduated seven years ago, extended the invitation.
Subliminal, who produced theme music for CBC Radio Canada for a decade, met Cosby at the school where he speaks to students every year.
“I almost missed the flight, we were stuck in a snow storm and the ride was bumpy,” said Subliminal. “When I did get to meet him, it was the first time in my life that I was speechless. I am very comfortable around people and I have been around celebrities…To see how much he has aged was not something that I was prepared for. We always think of him as the person we see on the TV show as Mr. Huxtable.
“Bill is still witty and very sharp and right to the point. He’s a non-nonsense fellow. Being in his presence was a moment I will never forget. It was just unbelievable to meet my idol.”