At 17 years old, Joseph Jamal, also known as Double J, is on a profound mission: to become the voice of individuals with autism through music. Ever since young, Joseph has encountered how unfair and impartial the world can be toward people with his same diagnosis. Beginning with his debut mixtape, “My Biggest Confession,” the artist is taking significant steps to make a difference.
Joseph Jamal, a thriving artist from Alpharetta, Georgia, is the first artist to solely dedicate an entire mixtape to autism. Through his first big project, the artist opens conversations and empowers people like himself to take a stand. For years, he has faced prejudice and criticisms, but today, Joseph is ready to show the world what he can do and what he has to say.
The artist explained that autism does not get its fair share of awareness through mainstream media. This is particularly alarming because 1 out of 68 children is diagnosed with autism in the United States alone. But despite the striking statistic, autistic individuals do not get enough encouragement from their communities. Using his talent in music, Joseph Jamal hopes to represent the other side of the coin, the face of autism often misinterpreted and overlooked by others.
“I have faced much ableism throughout my life, and I wanted to inspire many people with my life story to give hope to many as I was diagnosed with autism when I was six years old. I wanted to show that if you have determination and a positive mind, you can overcome any obstacles in life no matter how tragic the circumstances are,” said Joseph Jamal.
Amid all the challenges he experienced, Joseph Jamal was able to find inspiration in Atlanta-based rapper Money Mu. The artist met Money Mu on a flight. He shared that he was nervous during the interaction, and he told the rap icon that he had autism. However, Joseph added that Money Mu treated him like any other artist despite the revelation and made him feel just as capable as anyone else.
“He told me to keep on following your dreams no matter what and always ignore your haters. He told me my music was good when he heard one of my songs, and he told me to keep on making more music. I hope I have made my community and Money Mu proud by representing many people with autism through this mixtape,” Joseph Jamal said. “I really appreciate Money Mu for inspiring me because while he could have been talking to his manager and his friend in the airport, he took the time to advise me on life advice and interact with me because I’m a fan of his music.”
Furthermore, the artist aims to uplift his community through his mixtape. Through his music, he wants to prove to the rest of the world that autism is nothing but a diagnosis. Despite having troubles with expressing themselves, autistic people are just as capable as anyone else. “We are not a disability; we just think differently,” said the artist. “I express myself in different ways, and so do many other people within my community,” he added further.
By placing the spotlight on the spectrum, Joseph Jamal is courageously putting his foot forward in making an impact. At the end of the day, the artist wants his music to make others understand autism better and hopes that they would lose their prejudice toward his community. He shared that people have always looked down on people with autism, and it’s high time for that perspective to undergo a massive shift.
“We deserve a voice like everybody else. I decided to become an activist and try to end ableism to the best of my abilities,” Joseph Jamal said.
As Joseph Jamal fearlessly presents his life as an open book, he hopes to inspire others to also share their story. Furthermore, the artist aims for his mixtape to pave the way for autistic people to be seen as inspiring individuals and no longer be treated as incapable of reaching great heights.