Early in my career, I wasn't always sure what to do with the newfound fame I got from being a record producer and executive. I was so focused on creating great records (and partying too much), and although I cared about social and political issues, I didn't fully understand how to use my platform to affect change. It wasn't until I got older that I realized the ability to shift culture could change hearts and minds.
That is why I have been incredibly inspired by the campaign launched by Welcome.us to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month, because so many amazing young artists stepped up and created work that has already lifted the spirit of this nation. It was an honor to join Welcome.us as one of their partners in this initiative. Michael Skolnik, who has been by my side as my political director for the past five and a half years, brilliantly crafted our part of this campaign and for that I am grateful. The short films beautifully and powerfully directed by Naya Rivera, Guillermo Diaz, Rocsi Diaz, Paola Mendoza and featuring Jamie-Lynn Sigler along with so many courageous immigrants who were no longer afraid to tell their stories, challenged the way we think about our country's past by celebrating who we are as a diverse group of people emigrating to the United States from all over the world. Many of us and our ancestors came to this country looking for a better life, some of our ancestors were brought here against their own will and some of our ancestors are native to this land; yet we all believe that this country is better when are are one. What was beautiful about this campaign is that it focused on all immigrants. Incredibly led by a young woman who came here from Nigeria, Tolu Olubunmi, Welcome.us shined a spotlight on so many, while excluding none. It is also had great leadership from the business community that has helped push this issue to the forefront of our time. I was joined by some incredible people on the Honorary Board of Welcome.us, from Mark Zuckerberg (who has been a champion on this issue for quite some time) to Steve Chen to Padma Warrior to my friend Jim Breyer, to so many other leaders.
Over the course of my lifetime, I have witnessed many great cultural movements. I believe that by moving culture, you create space for politicians to enact policy; sometimes good and sometimes not so good. In this case, we know that the work of these artists will only uplift this nation for the better. It is not a surprise that President Obama made the strong statement he made today in the Rose Garden on the last day of Immigrant Heritage Month. I am sure that he is also inspired by the cultural shift that is happening in this country around immigration reform and understands that there is now ample space to change America's policy. So if you are an artist, PLEASE keep on creating, because we are listening.