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By Nan Price, Content Manager, MetroHartford Alliance

Multimedia artist, producer, and songwriter Rashawn (PUP) Asberry mentors youth, teaches hip-hop, and records local artists in his studio. He is also a member of the Artists of Color Unite! Advisory Group, which recently launched Artists of Color Accelerate, an initiative of The 224 EcoSpace funded by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

How are you a part of Hartford and how is Hartford a part of you?

RASHAWN (PUP) ASBERRY: The culture of Hartford is in me from being born and raised in Hartford and in the surrounding areas, like Bloomfield.

When I step out into Hartford and I’m connecting with the youth, I’m seeing little me all over again. I see the potential I’ve always seen, even when I was young and thought: I’m going to put Hartford on the map because this is what we need to do!

Many of us who grew up with that dream and haven’t seen it come to fruition, but that keeps me here now, on the ground, working with the next generation, to let Hartford shine. That’s how I’m a part of Hartford and Hartford is a part of me.

What makes Hartford unique?

PUP: With all the talent here, Hartford is a hidden gem. When we have the opportunity to shine a light, others will be able to see the uniqueness and creative works that come out of Hartford.

Hartford has its own language and slang, too. We have our own style. We have our own sound that needs to be recognized and we have so many talented people who I feel like it’s time to recognize because we are the hidden gems.

How do you tell the Hartford story?

PUP: I would tell the Hartford story as a small city on the rise, a city with so much potential surrounding us. It’s time to now tell the stories within the story of Hartford. We can do that by basically speaking to the people, hearing their history of Hartford, and sharing that wisdom from the people within Hartford.