Ras Judah Semeong
My name is Judah Seomeng. AKA Ras Judah in the music circles. I was born and raised in Botswana, Southern Africa. I came to NZ just after my 33rd birthday, 14 years ago. I am currently based in Wellington. And I am in New Zealand with my family.
I am a musician and have been making music for over two decades. Otherwise I am also an academic within the world of social science.
I am always looking for ways to connect with fellow Black Creatives in Aotearoa at any possible level; collaborative, cultural exchange, supportive, joint adventuring etc.
Although Aotearoa is generally receptive, and to some extent supportive of our creative works, I wouldn't go as far as saying I that I find anything "easy". I would say, for me being an immigrant comes with multiple challenges that often go beyond the creative realm. The one significant challenge that relates to being in a creative space as an immigrant in a dominant culture is having to constantly prove the "cultural capital" worth of my creative work.
The alignment of the value of creative work with cultural identity is much more pronounced in New Zealand than in any other so called "first world" countries I have been to.
For example; if you are a creative individual in NZ, you also have to be either; a Maori, a Pacific Islander or even better, a European for your work to be considered culturally valuable...for example as a member of APRA (Australasian Performing Rights Association), I find it difficult to get my work into promotional platforms and many of the awards, that my Maori, Pacific Islanders and Pakeha counter parts have access to, because they are all specifically tailored for these cultural identities. Even many of the music festivals in NZ, are tailored in this biased fashion. So that's what I mean by having to prove "the cultural capital worth" of my creative work. When I say dominant culture, I am talking about the "Kiwi culture". And Yes, it can be pluralized as the typical "Kiwi culture" typically; Pakeha at the top, followed by Maori and Pacific Island cultures as subcultures. (This is a bit more complex than what I have just written here. But it's a real existing cultural prejudice that extends into creative work)
As a musician, collaborating with other Black Creatives gives me satisfaction. But I am open to working in other creative spaces as well. Ethnographic research is another passion of mine which has the potential for collaborative creativity.
I am always ready for creative collaboration. So an opportunity to collaborate is welcome at any time. I am currently writing music for my next album of Pan Afrikan music and Roots Reggae, and any Black Creatives interested in any sort of musical collaboration are more than welcome to get in touch.
There are several ways to connect with me; Facebook is the easiest one (Ras Judah Seomeng) or my website:
I am also on the following platforms:
-Number 1 Music
- YouTube (I have a channel here as "Ras Judah & Culture Embassy)
(All others as Ras Judah Seomeng )
My previous work can be accessed at: www.rasjudah.org