005: Darian Wigfall (Activist, Author, & Independent Music Exec)

Darian Wigfall on Innovation City

“I knew that if I wanted to be stronger, I needed to change that mentality in myself.” — Darian Wigfall

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in conjunction with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

In this episode of Innovation City, SLAM! co-founders Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson talk with Darian Wigfall—author, activist, arts organizer, DJ, and entrepreneur. Darian is the Co-Director of the St. Louis based FarFetched Collective, an art imprint that produces progressive music and art in St. Louis and beyond, where he runs Artist Development and Management.

Darian has published a young adult novel, A Dying Breed, Vol. 1, a story about the struggles that confront many inner city children, and he has more books in the works. Find ‘A Dying Breed, Vol. 1’ on Amazon, at Dunaway Books, or at MoKaBe’s Coffeehouse.

Darian is well-known in St. Louis for his direct action during the protests in Ferguson, MO, with a sign he carried during the protests now being exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture.

They discuss:

  • Darian’s musical history
  • His father’s musical background and collection of 8-tracks
  • The Suzuki Strings program in Parkway School District
  • Switching from violin and trumpet to “cool” instruments like guitar, drums, and turntables
  • Moving from DJing to producing
  • Independent music
  • Verse-utilitY Media Group, Inc.
  • Meeting Damon Davis of FarFetched
  • The resurgence of vinyl (and maybe CDs!)
  • Starting your own thing
  • Making music stronger as a scene in St. Louis
  • Mentoring at Fanning Middle School
  • Writing ‘A Dying Breed, Vol. 1’ to reflect the lives of the children Darian worked with while mentoring
  • Working at the Central Public Library
  • Cultural differences between white teachers and black students
  • How ‘A Dying Breed, Vol. 1’ parallels the story of Mike Brown
  • How Loren D. would have been Mike Brown’s teacher had he lived.
  • Ex’Treme Institute – St. Louis
  • ‘A Dying Breed, Vol. 2: Not So Princess Jasmine’
  • Universal African Peoples Organization
  • Ferguson Protests lasting over 100 days, and the impact it had on movements across the country
  • Artists from St. Louis, or who have been in St. Louis recently working on projects: Producer Metro Boomin (@metroboomin on Twitter), SZA (@SZA on Instagram), Future (@future on Instagram)
  • Darian’s scientific background and work as a Lab Manager at Washington University
  • The problems of human behavior
  • The problems of propaganda and white supremacy
  • Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella Meadows, and the control and flow of information
  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Economic Growth, GDP vs. What’s actually good for the people in the community
  • Changing what we have been conditioned to believe
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People