Tezlyn Figaro has been a part of the political world for years, and she’s looking to have conversations bringing hip-hop and culture into the fold. Figaro is the host of REVOLT’s “Tez on Ten” show, where she sits down with political figures and people in the community as they discuss crucial topics of the day.
Tell us about “Tez on Ten.”
The show is taking you through all of these 10 different topics that need to be talked about in our community but are being talked about [in a different way]. Everybody says that they’re talking about it differently, but no, I’m talking about it differently. Because often you’ll have an entertainer who doesn’t have an opinion, and then you have the politicians or the people in politics who are organizers who have worked on campaigns, and they don’t necessarily have deep conversations with entertainers, they look at them as just somebody who just wants to come and hype the crowd up and leave. What I’m trying to do is marry those worlds from talking to former pimps, dope boys, and people in the streets and have a conversation where everybody has an opinion and show it’s okay for us to disagree.
How do politics and hip-hop intersect in today’s society?
It’s an era that I lived in. Some people have shows that use hip-hop, and they reference politics, but they haven’t lived it. They’re not from the streets, so it’s a totally different conversation. Then those who are from the streets, I challenge them. Where are the receipts? How many people have you put in office? How many people have you trained? Have you read a policy? Have you written a policy? I’m not saying I know everything, but I’ve lived that life where I have a little bit of something from these areas that can contribute to the conversation. I know what I know, and I know what I don’t know. It’s good when you’re able to bring that authenticity. I’m not just sitting down with gangbangers because it’s gimmicky and it makes sense. No, I grew up in a hood, and I can talk to you about who’s the YGs, BGs, OGs, and who’s from the trap. I can have this conversation, so it makes a huge difference.
What is the importance of the Black vote?
I need more people running instead. People don’t have anybody to vote for. They don’t have anything they believe in. The little homies should be running, if nothing else, for the precinct chair. That’s why I work so hard to organize people to run. Forget the vote. What about the candidate? When you get the candidate, people will vote. When they get someone they’ll believe in, they’ll vote. People show up and vote for their friends. I’m trying to talk to the 1,500 who never voted and never thought about getting involved and getting somebody to run their campaign.