We had the good fortune of connecting with Taylor Waits and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Taylor, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Creating for me; is like breathing. Pursuing a plethora of careers, paths, experiences, and opportunities over my lifetime continues to illuminate how important making music, writing, and creating visuals are to me. Creating improves my wellness while simultaneously archiving my thoughts as a Black Queer woman living in 2021. I am living history and I see my art the same way. I want my art to live past my lifetime. I often imagine where my novels will end up or who in the world is enjoying a mix or playlist I threw together. I also enjoy that my creations allow me to connect to so many different types of people. It comforts me to know I am not alone in the way I view the world; that their is an audience of people who at least frequent my content. I do all that I do for myself first and others second. Remaining true to myself is the best way I can let people know who I am and what I believe.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a multimedia artist, PhD student, DJ, cofounder of #ChangeRapeCulture, blogger and organizer currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy for Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Born in Houston; raised in Washington, DC; and living my young adult life in the Texas; I combine all of my experiences in my projects. . I aspire to open my own high school after graduate work, continue to service my community through #ChangeRapeCulture and other causes, and continue making art. As DJTayWaits I bring the Texas heat to the Steel City. The combination of my love of music; nightlife experience as a go-go dancer/stripper; and unapologetic mixing style helps me to create the perfect atmosphere guaranteed to have the entire block wanting to party! It has been difficult to find time for rest during the hectic moments of these past years but it has become imperative to my existence as a business owner and artist. In order to create – we must experience. Life is meant to be lived! Take advantage of opportunities that strengthen your life goals outside of your career – your career won’t be there for you at night.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As soon as they land we are heading straight to Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill to grab a bite to eat from their choice of Thai, Moroccan, Mexican, Italian food or more! Then we can head off to Downtown Pittsburgh to climb the incline, look at the Overlook, and look at the river in PNC Park. We would hike a trail at Ohiopyle or Twin Eagles park before hopping bars down on Southside.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shoutout my own organization #ChangeRapeCulture first and foremost. We are dedicated to changing the sentiment in which we talk about sexual violence and abuse for LGBTQIA+ folks across the United States. My co-founder, Kimiya Factory also runs Black Freedom Factory – an organization based in San Antonio that exists to build a more racially and socially just society by cultivating racial equity across San Antonio through data-driven advocacy, mentorship programs for grassroots organizers, community outreach, anti-racism training, and consulting.

Website: www.taylorwaits.com

Instagram: @taywaits

Image Credits
Tymber Hudson, Khadijat Yussef, Andrew Burgher

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