SMIB WORLDWIDE is a platform which found form in the south east of Amsterdam. De Bims, or the Smib, a name people from there are more familiar with, is the name we started to label our art with. Couple years later, the platform consists in different lanes such as the music industry, clothing and even literature. And while the platform started in a small hood in Amsterdam, our focus is on the planet as a whole.
at the time the article was written Ray was 19 years old
Ray has big dreams. He is a young artist, rapper, musician, fashion designer, philosopher and much more. “SMIB is Bims – slang for the Bijlmer. Everyone here is Smib. It’s just a bunch of people doing cool things”. The walls of his room in a small apartment where he lives with his mother, two sisters, two brothers and his nephew show traces of his adventures: they are covered in photos, stickers and quotes.
The music Ray creates doesn’t seem to belong to a specific genre, but it is clear what influences him. “Punk is how I feel. I really get the lines; I understand what they are feeling.” Listening to punk and loving fashion are both very important to him: from a very young age, he already knew what he wanted to wear every day, and now has his own clothing brand: SMIB-SA-LAND. This is something he is very proud of: he has the name of the brand tattooed on his belly. He studies Fashion at the ROC Amsterdam, though he would like to quit as he feels like he isn’t learning anything new or useful.
Ray wants to start a revolution, to wake up his generation. “I want to start a subculture, and teach kids to fulfil their ambitions and dreams and that anything is possible.” Ray has made it his mission to teach the new Bijlmer generation to respect themselves and each other. He has written graffiti tags around the neighbourhood with the words ‘black power’. Since a big part of the Bijlmer residents is black he wants the people to embrace their roots, and make them more aware and proud. “Black is beautiful. Black is god.”
A perfect example of Ray’s influence around the neighbourhood presents itself when a 17-year-old SMIB member talks about him at Ray’s home. The boy explains that if it wasn’t for Ray and SMIB he would be in trouble now. He calls them his family. “He taught me to believe in myself – only love for this man,” he says when he first points at Ray and then places his hand on his chest. Ray seems humble but serious about the gesture. He feels responsible for a lot of young people, takes them under his wings and gives them things to do like producing music or making a video for him. He believes in them when nobody else does, and therefore plays a crucial role in discovering and supporting new promising kids, who – without him – may never have tried.