Q&A with Liz Clarke of Freedx
Known by her stage name HTEBASIŁÉ, Ottawa rapper Liz Clarke is making waves with her women-led initiative Freedx, and we wanted to find out more. Keep reading to hear what she has to say about how her musical endeavours have led her to launch a social enterprise!
1. What inspired you to start Freedx?
Freedx was born from a personal need that I had to officially start my music career and release my first hip hop single. For months I was working with men to make the release happen and it wasn’t coming together as I had expected. I decided to temporarily suspend that release to work on my first hit “Just Getting By”. Within 24 hours, I wrote the song and began to put together a team to record, mix and master the song, plan the release and shoot the music video. All of this with an entire team of women who had volunteered to hop on board.
Freedx was established from the principals of collaboration, community and creativity so as I progressed with the release, I embraced my partner’s ideas, concept developments and most importantly their encouragement. The Womxn Up fundraiser was an initiative developed to ensure that the women involved would be compensated for their contributions to the project. This idea sparked an opportunity to develop a sustainable enterprise that would support content creators in collaborating to work on creative projects together and would assist members of the collective in hosting their own passion projects through the Womxn Up Event series.
2. What do you hope to achieve with Freedx and how will it serve Ottawa creatives?
I hope that Freedx becomes the leading women-led content creation agency in Ottawa. I hope we can influence and elevate the creative infrastructures we currently have in place in the city to support women artists and creators. Freedx will focus on employing women creative freelancers who are looking to be compensated and valued for their work while building a trusted collective that benefits from reciprocal mentorships. I hope that this collective gets to breach the limits on our creative potential and what’s expected of us as women. In the long run, I hope young women aspiring to be creative artists and content creators are inspired and motivated to seek out a career in the industry because they’ve seen women just like them make a sustainable living from it.
3. How has your personal experience as an artist shaped Freedx and your outlook on the need for women-led creative organizations in Ottawa?
Navigating the creative industry has been very interesting for me and has taught me several very important lessons and has shown me the importance of collective action among women. If we want to see long-term change, we have to come together to be the ones to change our circumstances and that’s the energy and ambition I’ve brought into Freedx. I’ve been personally and professionally affected by negative stereotypes surrounding my capabilities as a woman content creator. I’ve been undermined, overlooked and even demoted from opportunities that have in turn pushed me to get even better at my craft. The camaraderie among the woman I work with professionally is outstanding. We positively support each other, show empathy for one another and push our limits on what we feel we can accomplish. Freedx is a network of strong and resilient women who have stood the test of time in their creative fields, who know the struggle so well that they’ve been so willing to commit to build the Freedx Vision.
4. What projects are in the works right now with Freedx?
Freedx and our collective of women are currently working on our website and social media launch, several client projects and our first event for our event series Womxn Up, which will be a listening party for the release of my debut single as a rap artist. We look forward to connecting with more people who are in need of content creation services and who want to see women thriving and dominating the creative industry.