Tarishio Freestyles for Freedom

Senior Tarik Darwiesh uses his voice to make a difference, one performance at a time

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Every day, the news media is seemingly plagued by an onset stories of violence, tragedy, and disaster. It almost seems as though the world is getting worse by the minute.
On top of that, there is still a plethora of news that is not being reported simply because those involved do not have the same access to free speech or the privilege of being deemed newsworthy by Western media.
While families in the Middle East, Muslims in China, and protesters in South America all fight for their lives, wondering if they will be able to survive the day, most of us stay silent.
Fortunately, not all hope is lost, for the are hundreds of thousands of teens all around the world who have come together to make a difference, each in their own unique way.
For this issue, I sought out one of Annandale’s own creators of change and asked him a few questions about his latest projects, endeavors, and how it all began.

I saw on your social media that you recently performed at an open mic night, could you tell me a little bit more about that?
Sure! So, the event was on Sat. Dec. 7, and it was organized by the Dar Al-Hijrah Youth Department at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church. Every year, they host an open mic night and invite Muslim youth from all around the country, as well as local performers, to participate.

How did you end up as part of the lineup?
It’s a pretty cool story actually. One day, I was freestyling on the back of a bus and one of the event organizers overheard me and approached me to invite me to come out and perform, so I did! I’ve been coming back every year since then.

How did you feel before hopping on stage? After?
Before, I was nervous and anxious, which is normal before any performance. While I was up there, though, you don’t really think about it so I just enjoyed myself. After I was done, it was a really humbling feeling.

What got you interested in rap and freestyling in the first place? How did you start out?
Rap music was the only kind of music I listened to while growing up, so I’ve kind of always been surrounded by it. I would rap along to songs, and I became great at it, I guess. Rapping has always been kind of fun. I started to reach a good amount of people and felt like I could use my platform, so to speak, to talk about issues that are actually affecting us, bringing light to problems that are actually affecting us that people might not otherwise become aware of.

What other things have you done in the past to further your goal of reaching out to others?
I’ve performed at some other events and rapped about issues affecting our community and the world as a whole. I like to make music with a purpose. I did a song at Heritage Night last year with a bunch of my friends, which was a lot of fun. I try to keep up with the news as much as possible and do my part to promote problems that don’t seem to be receiving much coverage, but are definitely still as important as any other story.

You seem to be showing a theme here. What topics do you tend to cover in your raps?
I usually rap about issues going on in the world and issues that are prominent. I am Muslim and Palestinian, so issues regarding those communities hit close to home, which is why I tend to include them in most of what I write.

What advice would you give other teens like you who want to make their voices heard?
To someone like that, I would just say don’t be scared. A large audience might be intimidating but once you get started, the feeling goes away. Just speak your truth.

You’re currently a senior at AHS. What are your plans after high school?
College is for sure a part of my future. I got accepted into Virginia Tech, so that was amazing news to get. The campus is super nice and the professors are great, plus they have a good performing arts program, so I’m pretty psyched about that.

And what’s next for Tarishio? Any future events?
Definitely. Like I said, I plan on attending the open mic night every year so be sure to come out to that next year! After this, I plan to write more, film more, perform more. I have another performance coming in January, February, and a couple in May.

If you want to keep up with Tarik and his future plans, be sure to check out his social media below. Remember that you, too, can make a difference, and you can do it through wherever your passions lie. Anything you do, no matter how small, can create a world of change.

Snapchat: Tarishio

Instagram: Tarishio

Twitter: Tarishio