rIVerse opens up about living authentically.
The Canadian musical collective is made up of BIPOC, multi-racial (Black, white, middle eastern), queer and plus-size artists. Following the debut of their sophomore album Poison IV and their new single, “BaeBeeBoo”, rIVerse caught up with ET Canada to dish on their lives, careers and the new project.
The group met nine-years-ago at a stage production of High School Musical 2. Dizz, the group’s founder, pieced together a collective that was missing in mainstream media.
“I wanted to bring something brand new, a brand new idea, something fresh to the table,” Dizz explains. “That was represented by finding people who you don’t normally see in mainstream media and pop culture. That’s where the worth of it was.”
Khadija adds, “There was a point where we realized we needed to live in our truth. The more we started doing that, the more we started sharing it with our audiences.”
On Feb. 7, in honour of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Dizz came out as HIV positive in a heartfelt video on rIVerse’s YouTube channel.
“It was difficult, but what was natural was the importance I feel to live truthfully and live authentically. That part was easy,” Dizz shares. “The actual doing, the actual stepping up to the plate and making the announcement and stepping into my truth was hard. Having the support of brother and sisters here, my partner and other people in my life really gave me the strength I needed to follow through. I really can’t live my life with secrets.”
“It took me a little while to dive into the comments because I was scared at first to see what would be said, but once I did I was overwhelmed by the love and people who personally messaged me and came out to me. There are still so many people that are in the closet, so to speak, about their statuses,” Dizz reveals. “Coming out as HIV positive, in terms of what it means for my quality of life moving forward, means that I don’t have to hide. The gift of freedom I think we take for granted a lot.”
Change and social justice is a cause that will always requiring fighting for. When asked what cause requires the most attention moving forward, Zak argues the best change comes from within.
“Progress within ourselves and our spiritual wellness and our love of self. That’s where we have to start in order to spread love outward. It’s the root cause,” Zak expresses. “It’s departure point one of basically everything that we bring to the world around us.”
“Especially around these more isolated times that we take very seriously with the pandemic happening, it’s allowed for a lot of us to self reflect and be left with our own thoughts,” Zak adds. “That’s the new frontier. Love yourself, get up to a mirror, tell yourself you’re beautiful, you’re worthy, you’re valued, you’re loved. Because ain’t nobody else tell you that when you’re isolated.”
rIVerse recently dropped Poison IV and invite fans on a journey through their lives and deep themes like the journey to self love, systemic racism and body positivity,
“This album is going to give you flavour, it’s going to give you fire, it’s going to give you an eclectic range of what you see in the world and what you want to be a part of,” Zak explains. “And love. And energy. And truth. If I can centre on one thing, it’s truth and it’s freedom. Truth is freedom and this album is honestly going to take you on a journey through all of our musical roots.”