By Melissa Henry –
Jonathan Santos, a 33-year-old musician, organizer, entrepreneur, and “edutainer” originally from Queens, NY, is dedicated to not only furthering his own music career and the business he started five years ago, GlocalSoul Edutainment, but also to empowering and supporting other emerging artists.
As a way to encourage others to share their voices, Santos—who uses his last name professionally—currently hosts a youth empowerment open mic at The Hop West on the second Tuesday of every month.
His service to the community is manifest through his willingness to participate actively in cultural events. His delivers his concise, uplifting message through mesmerizing poetic vocals that encourage his listeners to work for the common good. He works with leaders across many organizations that serve Asheville’s Black and LatinX communities, striving for a ‘CommonUnity’ in the hope is that people will view themselves as connected to the rest of the world. Santos advises studying other languages as a means of building vital connections across cultures. He tells youth of color: “The world wants to know about you! They think they know about you.”
Santos grew up in Japan and was graduated from high school there before arriving in North Carolina to attend NC-A&TSU, where he earned a BA in Political Science. His travels to over 10 countries have imprinted on him a global perspective that directly impacts the values he extends to others. The GlocalSoul curriculum he started developing while at NC-A&TSU is intended to impart life skills, to enrich and complement what is seldom taught in school. Through this organization, he performed at the 2016 North Carolina Campus Compact conference, addressing 50 to 60 student leaders and scholars from across the state through songs and interactive lessons.
His workshops, which include original music and poetry, are also designed for high school and middle school students. As an artist/organizer of Puerto Rican and Black descent, he is passionate about African Americans taking steps to strengthen their communities financially and spiritually while connecting to their ancestral roots throughout the African Diaspora. He cites Marcus Garvey: “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Santos has resided in Asheville since 2010 and has worked in just about every school, commUnity center, and grassroots organization within the city including YTL, Green Opportunities, AWITSC (Word on the Street), and Hood Huggers. Upon arrival he was employed as a Sifu (black belt) instructor, teaching TaiChi and ChiGung for the city of Asheville in Pack Square Park.
Santos is a father of four beautiful children, about whom he says, “I’m determined to create a culture of empowerment for them to live their dreams.” His advice is to “remember that our lives matter outside of America,” and he suggests that parents “raise their children to find this out for themselves!”
Those interested can discover Santos on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, and at a nearby school college or community near, where they can learn how he is “Changing the World by Changing Me.”
Read more about his community involvement at www.jonathansantosmusic.com. Contact him at Glocalsouledu@gmail.com.