The Hive has some pretty interesting and creative student staff and we want you to get to know some of them better, through our Faces of the Hive series. In this informal, partly spontaneous interview, Elijah Jabbar-Bey, one of the newest members of the Hive staff, sits down with co-worker Akotowaa Ofori, and reveals some fascinating facts about his personality.
What is the meaning of your name?
Elijah: My first name means “faithful to God.” My last name “warrior and protector.”
I looked it up: Jabbar literally translates to “Almighty” and Bey to “leader.”
What do you think is the most creative/coolest thing about you?
Elijah: That’s a tough question.
Really? Okay, if you met someone right now and really wanted to impress them, what would you say about yourself?
Elijah: There is a difference between what you think would impress people and what you actually believe is cool about you.
Okay, that’s true. But if you met me for the first time, what would you say about yourself that could impress me?
Elijah: I aspire to be a museum curator for African art or an artist myself.
Cool! Is it true though?
There, see, you found a balance between what you think is cool and what you think I’d think is cool! What kind of artist are you?
Elijah: I’m a visual artist. I draw a lot. I have less experience painting. I’m also interested in fashion. I’ll just have ideas for designs for shirts and hats and stuff, and I get help from people who actually make them real. It’s cool to wear or use something that you created or designed.
Very true! How often do you draw?
Elijah: Not as much as I’d like to, but in class a lot. [Laughs] Which is not good.
Did you create a lot as a kid?
Elijah: Yeah. I used to draw a lot more as a kid, but that was pretty much the extent of my creating.
So what got you into making hats and shirts and things like that?
Elijah: I think that was a result of my interest in fashion and caring more about how I look and what I wear, the brands I like and the images they use. And I wanted to create things that I wanted to wear. It’s getting harder and harder for me to go to a store and find things I actually like.
Do you think that’s because you think what you see isn’t cool, or because your taste keeps changing?
Elijah: I think it’s partly because my taste keeps changing but also because it doesn’t feel right. Like when you go and get a suit tailored, it feels like it’s for you. But when you go to a store, it’s like mass production, it was created for millions of people, not necessarily for you. It’s for the general consumer.
What kind of designs do you put on your hats and your shirts?
Elijah: Well I’ve only made one hat so far, and it’s a logo of a brand I want to create called “Moons,” and it’s about space. And my mother’s last name was Moone, and so it’s kind of an ode to her. In general, other ideas I have are just cool images, cool color schemes, things I’d want to wear, stuff that looks good together, and just different landscapes.
Do you like the idea of space a lot?
Elijah: There are people who are more into it than me. I’m not a hardcore Star Wars fan or anything. I just like the idea of exploring different planets and the unknown—the idea of discovering new and different things than what we know here. Also, I think to be honest, one of my favorite artists and musical influences, Kid Cudi’s first project was “Man on the Moon,” and it had a big influence on me growing up.
What brought you to the Hive?
Elijah: Wanting to explore my interest in the arts more. I enjoyed this space a lot as a visitor and I feel like I have good ideas and could add to the environment to make it an even better place.
What did you do on those times you visited?
Elijah: One time I came to make a model for an idea for a clock I had. I bought a clock, took the face off, replaced the numbers with letters, and it ended up spelling out “The Time Is Now.” The original idea came from my ID1 course, which was on DIY philosophy. My professor brought buttons and I drew a clock that spelled out “F*** the time.” But I realized that was kind of negative, so I made it “The Time Is Now” instead.
Super cool! Can we see it?
If you had a million dollars right now, what would you do with it?
Elijah: I would be smart with it because a million is really not that much. It’s nice, but it can blow away real fast. I would talk to somebody who knows stocks real well and invest it. Buy a car. Pay off the rest of my tuition so my parents don’t even have to worry about it for the rest of the semesters—and I’m going abroad next year …
What kind of car?
Elijah: Probably a real nice sports car. Or an old classic. Like an old ‘70s Mustang convertible. Or this make called Thunderbird, which is really cool.
How come you’re going abroad?
Elijah: Because of my major. I declared Africana Studies …
That’s great—you finally did it! Why did you decide to be an Africana major?
Elijah: I feel like everything in my life was guiding me towards that. I think it naturally happened when I just let myself gravitate toward what really made me happy. And I guess it’s just about learning more about my experiences in this world and my family and the larger black community and our experiences in this world. And if I like studying it, why not do it anyway—because it’s a part of my identity and it’s not going away any time soon.
Why did you come all the way to Pomona?
Elijah: I think I always saw myself in California because of the different things I’m interested in, and wanting to be surrounded by nature. I came here, visited, and just fell in love with it. It was my top choice right away.
Why do you like to create?
Elijah: Because it’s tangible. Like you can say, “Look, I produced this thing from my brain or my hands” or whatever you’re using. Like with skateboarding, it’s your legs.
Is skateboarding creating though?
Elijah: Yeah. Every movement of your body is creation.
Oh, actually that makes a lot of sense, when you think about dancing, for example. That’s creativity.
Lastly, what is creativity to you?
Elijah: It’s what you make of what you’ve got.
That’s a great answer.
Elijah’s working hours are Tuesday and Wednesday from 7-9pm, so pass through if you’d like to make something, have a conversation, chill, or just say hi!