by Liltera R. Williams
Hussein Al Shammery, better known socially by his Hip Hop moniker, Slash, is a 23-year-old student of the arts. Born in Kuwait with a desire to someday travel the world, he’s striving to master every single one of his self-taught talents while on a mission to help others understand the true meaning of self-expression. Through the growth of his positive B-Boy movement, Slash aims to change the minds and beliefs of the misguided and misfortunate – transforming with a purpose. His humble spirit keeps him from boasting about his own skills, but his name often rings a bell in casual conversation; admirers are quick to identify his elevated passion and most would agree that he’s destined to become more than just a local prodigy.
When did you discover your passion for the arts?
It all started with music. Ever since I heard and learned to understand it and was able to tell the difference between meaningful music and commercial music, I discovered what I wanted to be. Everything else just followed… One track led to another track, one move to another move, one action to another action and here I am today living my life as a dancer, filmmaker, actor and singer in one tiny, skinny body.
What are your main talents? Would you say that you have an equal level of dedication for each one?
I don’t believe in talent as a word really, I believe in hard work and skills; talent is just the product of pure work and practice. I’m fully dedicated and committed to dancing. I love to express myself and create something that can leave an imprint. But I’ve been filming and shooting long before I started dancing. I always loved to see and capture everything as a moving piece of art – all things have a story behind them and I strive to share those stories from my point of view. I’m not a first-class filmmaker and I don’t own the best cameras or equipment, I just like to save moments as moving pictures. I also organize Hip Hop and break dance competitions. I don’t know if it’s a talent or not, but it takes some skill and practice to understand and correct mistakes. Hip Hop events are a huge part of my identity, from graffiti, DJing, MCing and fashion. I enjoy combining all of the elements together to create the best vibe. Recently, I’ve gotten involved in another beautiful way of expressing myself through acting and theater. Working with One World Actors Centre allowed me to see my potential as an actor and singer and made me realize that you can be whatever you want to be if you just put your mind to it.
Who or what inspires you?
I have a HUGE list that would probably take two editions to complete, but I’ll say anyone who takes pride in what they do and are humble about their status. I love all kinds of music on the planet. I always look for new music and it inspires me so much and makes me want to give out the best of me at all times. I’m also inspired by details. I love seeing detailed artwork because it makes me think of all the angles and perspectives. As Bruce Lee said, “you must be shapeless, formless, like water.” It makes me feel like I can stretch my body to create any pose. Nature, with all its randomness and beauty, and last but not least, every part of the Hip Hop culture and urban life.
How do you network with other passionate individuals?
I always try to keep a lookout for all the events happening in Kuwait and attend to show support while absorbing that artistic energy, which leads to meeting new interesting people from the area. Once I meet individuals and learn more about them, I immediately begin discussing how we can collaborate and create something together to make an impact in the community. Passionate people are the most artistic in my opinion.
Where do you find the energy to hone/practice your craft(s)?
I don’t always have enough time to practice, so I manage my time to do what I need to do, from filming, practicing or working out, meeting with people to complete projects, and rehearsing for shows. I basically live every day as if it’s my last and make the best of every moment possible.
How much has social media contributed to your growth and notoriety?
It has definitely connected me to many interesting people and allowed me to explore many new things. I don’t think I’m that famous or that I wish to be famous. I think fame will disconnect me from the things that I love, which is actually working with people for the love of the art and not for the love of the retweets and the reposts and such. Social media is meant for connecting to people and to see other things all over the world, but not for popularity surrounding who has the most followers on Instagram or likes on a Facebook page. Real life is what’s behind those mobile screens with the people we love and care about.
Is it difficult to Live Your Dream in Kuwait?
I wouldn’t say difficult, but it is challenging. Being a full-time dancer, I take pride in what I do and sometimes face some challenges in getting jobs or being treated as a professional, because some people don’t fully understand the hard work behind the art form. Other than that, I am blessed to say that during my life as a dancer I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from different people. Comparing it to the negative wouldn’t even be on the same level, so I believe Kuwait can be another capital of arts, especially dance, in the coming years.
What is your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal is to be in the history books as a man who stood up for what he believed in and managed to change the world. I want to create my mark as a doer and achiever and someone who believes in the power of the people and the power of love.