Musician advocates mindset that rejects social norms

Esquire Ali, a junior anthropology major, along with other members of the Vibe Tribe, celebrate and promote the lifestyle of “SCHWOG” through music. Photo credit: Caio Calado

Imagine a life with no gender-specific roles and with complete freedom from oppression and control tactics. Local musician Esquire Ali has been promoting a lifestyle he calls “SCHWOG,” which stands for Souly Creating Happiness Without Oppressing God.

Ali, a junior anthropology major and co-founder of Vibe Tribe Art Collective, has been embracing and spreading his ideas since 2011.

“It’s that lifestyle of just not being bound to any social norms and not being afraid to explore yourself,” Ali said.

Ali coins the mindset of this movement as “gunesh,” which takes away the boundaries that control creativity. It can give students the ability to think freely and set their minds to nontraditional goals, he said.

“Gunesh is this state of being in which it takes everything back to when we were just single cells, “Ali said. “Nothing matters, but you’re sent to do what you’re supposed to do. It’s this state of mind in which you don’t see no color, you don’t see no gender-specific roles, you don’t see none of this bullshit that holds you back.”

Students looking to explore this mindset have a couple of options. One way is to attend the Vibe Tribe Art Collective’s live performances, which happen a few times a month at various locations.

Information on upcoming shows can be found either on Instagram or Facebook. Other options for students include adopting the mindset, being the best at one’s craft and not being bound to any stereotypical norms, he said.

Kyle Perez, a senior anthropology major, has had a mind-opening experience adopting the mindset.

“Its freedom dude,” Perez said. “We are trying to make everyone break away from the confines of this little square.”

It has also helped him break out of the social shackles telling him how to act, dress and behave in a certain way, he said.

Breaking these boundaries can give students the opportunity to express themselves, be creative and chase the goals that are important to them, he said.

While Ali receives praise from certain individuals for bringing his way of thinking into their lives, he is not doing anything special, he said. Instead, he is broadening the spectrum of thought for individuals.

“You don’t have to live on that hamster wheel that a lot of people live their lives on,” Ali said. “You can maintain having the minimum.”

Nick Bragg can be reached at [email protected] or @Nick981 on Twitter.