Portland News

Pass the Torch Educating and Uniting People through Civil Discussions

In today’s hyper-personalized world of social media and technology, we are more connected than ever, yet never has there been a time where people have been more divided. One project called Pass the Torch by Michael Deering, otherwise known as Mikey D, hopes to tackle the confirmation bias by building a platform for civil discourse.

The company by Mikey D aims to destroy the divide by allowing people to speak their minds without backlash. “Not every argument ends in beef,” shares Michael on Pass the Torch’s intentions. “On our platform, the arguments are organized and always end in understanding. We like to educate, not separate.”

Nowadays, it’s common for platforms and channels to blow up with hate speech and hurtful comments. The rise of online trolls is creating a gap between people from different backgrounds and beliefs. Pass the Torch seeks to address this issue by creating a community where people can safely say their piece without worrying about getting negative feedback from others. “I wanted to do something different,” shares Michael Deering. “People always talk about bridging the gap, but it hasn’t been done effectively. People are either biased to one side or the other. You never see both sides of the argument on the same platform. So what I decided to do is organize the argument. In other words, make it a debate.”

Michael Deering is best known as one of Queens, New York’s finest battle rappers. His hip-hop career peaked in the eighties when he won the best rapper award at the New Music Seminar in 1988. Mikey D’s musical journey began in Laurelton at Queens, New York. He has recorded tracks with other prominent hip-hop and rap names like Johnnie Quest and legendary producer Paul C. Mikey. For a season before Pass the Torch started, Michael also joined the group, Main Source, which created a lot of noise in the music scene back in the days.

Michael came up with the idea of starting Pass the Torch with an array of industry giants. The other founders of the organization include sound engineer, photographer, and radio personality Eric “Big Vegg” Sullivan; rapper and host Ladi Miz; graphic designer Cal Cutter; filmmaker and producer Pritt Kalsi; and radio personality Geechie Dan. The group hopes that their project would be the spark that will allow for more unity in this new communication and digitalization age.

The group’s effort places particular emphasis on creating unity in hip-hop circles. The group aims to bring both older and younger artists from both traditional and new wave circles together. They hope that bridging the gap between various circles of thought can build a culture of respect and acceptance amongst artists.

This coming September 11, Pass the Torch looks to launch a new branch to their operations: a distribution company. The company looks to launch its new business model and Mikey D’s upcoming single, “Talkin That Shhh!” Key Figures joined the crew as the producer of the track.

For the future, Mikey D and the company hopes to create more projects, events, and campaigns that would unite all music lovers and enthusiasts under the banner of artistry and creativity. This effort, the group aspires, will be the uniting force that brings more and more musicians together.

To learn more about Pass the Torch and Michael Deering’s work, visit Pass the Torch’s website and Instagram account.

Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.