“There are so many artists that do so much but they are kinda slept on, because they’re not provocative in the way that other artists are, so they don’t really get the recognition,” said DeAndre Malcolm while explaining why R&B singer Jhene Aiko is his all-time favorite.
Malcolm, a junior studying public relations with minors in Spanish and digital media, trends and analytics, brings that level of passion to every conversation, whether it be about slept-on artists or his work in Penn State’s Black Caucus.
“I really just wanna work closely with artists, because I love the way artists can convey a story through different, unconventional means and I can really appreciate that,” says Malcolm.
Hailing from small-town Johnstown, PA, the switch to State College was harrowing at first.
“Literally everyone knows everyone, so the communication aspect I really appreciated because you always know what’s going on and who is doing what,” Malcolm said.
However, after getting to know his new home, his opinion changed. By joining Urban Dance Troupe, one of PSU’s premier dance troupes, Malcolm was able to find his community.
“I made such great friends, and I really love the dynamic that the team provides,” said Malcolm.
Malcolm, who is currently the Vice President of Urban Dance Troupe, expresses his passion for music in everything he does.
“I kinda wanna get in where I fit in, but if I get the opportunity, my dream job is to be an A&R executive for a recording company,” Malcolm said before excitingly explaining the rest of his plan. “I wanna give diverse artists a platform to tell their stories.”
Promoting diversity has been a long-term goal of Malcolm’s for as long as he can remember. Raised by a single mother who is a member of the (L)GBTQIAA+ community, the quest for fair representation made an imprint on his childhood.
“I don’t know my father, and that’s never been something that bothered me because my mother has always been such a strong woman and been able to provide for my brother and me,” Malcolm said. “My mom always said ‘I’m your mother and your father.’”
As a gay, black man himself, watching his mother and her pride growing up was a large help in his journey.
“I never had the assumption that everyone is straight because I understand how that’s not always the case, even if it is not presented in the way they act or talk,” Malcolm said.
Throughout his last three years at Penn State, Malcolm’s passion for music has never wavered.
“My ultimate goal is to open my own record label, and find all my own artists that I believe really convey the message that hip hop has gotten away from and just work towards bettering society through creativity,” said Malcolm.
DeAndre Malcolm hopes all students can find their way at Penn State the same way he did, and hopefully, find something they feel about the same way he feels about music.
“Don’t be afraid to speak up, it’s important to recognize your voice is valued and your experiences are valuable.”