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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Gif Press Release (2012)
Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gif Confronts Race & Identity in America with EX.O.L.L.

Radical thought requires radical art. That’s the idea behind everything emcee and performance artist Shawn “Gif” Folks does, including his latest album, EX.O.L.L.

EX.O.L.L., which was released on May 1st on iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp, was born out of Extraordinary Ordinary Lives of the Living, the hip-hop infused live theatre project Gif has been performing in and around New York City for the past three years. The show challenges conventional perceptions of Black urban youth identity and the accepted idea of progress.

When Gif realized what he had to say about his community was something people hadn’t heard before, might be considered controversial, and could apply to anyone not in the majority, he knew he couldn’t just make an album, he had to draw people into the experience. With EX.O.L.L. he does this by using his own experiences growing up in Spanish Harlem as “a Black wayward youth not bad enough to be saved, or good enough to be praised.” His goal is to address the question of how, in the face of ethnocentrism, do Black youth that identify with the criminalized culture of hip-hop feel about their intrinsic self-value?

Gif’s performances of Extraordinary Ordinary Lives of the Living have sparked intense conversations about race amongst audience members in and around New York City, and with EX.O.L.L.’s wide release Gif hopes to engage in those conversations with a national audience, and spark changes within minority communities across the country.

The owner of a long history of success when it comes to spreading his messages online, Gif received 40K downloads of his song “No Born ID” when it hit the main page of MP3.com in 2008. On the heels of those numbers, in 2010 Gif re-released his View of a Loser From on Top of the World album, which, to date, has been streamed/downloaded over half a million times. In addition to his online credits, Gif’s music and his views have been featured everywhere from the New York Daily News to the Spain’s daily newspaper El Mundo.

For more information on Gif, and to listen to some of his music, please check out

If you’d like to hear EX.O.L.L. and/or schedule an interview with Gif, please contact
posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:15 AM  
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