My Name Is: Tyjae Peña

Musician and performer who overcame fear and discrimination

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‘Let’s go for it’

I was born in San Diego, then we moved to Greeley, but I made it out — now I live in Littleton.

I own a lifestyle brand called Liv’n. Whatever you want to do that’s positive, go ahead and do it, and we’ll support you. You want to be an artist? A poet? A musician? Let’s go for it.

Our main audience is young entrepreneurs. What are you doing to further your craft and promote it?

Being content

Greeley is nice if you want to have a family right out of high school, get a house and work in the oil fields. Hey, you do you. I have family and friends living their best lives out there.

But Greeley is also a college town, and I met other ambitious people, and we moved down here to grow and build our company. Being content is your best friend and your worst enemy at the same time.

Go for the show

I’m a hip-hop artist, and I do some melodic singing and dance music as well. My last performance was a rap battle, and it was me on stage in a kimono and my hair up in a wild way. You want to give people a show, you know? Look at ’80s hair bands, Elton John or Queen. Big, eye-catching. They’re major names. You go for the show and leave loving the music.

These last few months have been so stressful. Performances and events have been cut. But it was also a nice reset. Life before COVID was go, go, go. It gave me time to reflect and reprogram.

Overcoming fear

I was a scared kid. I was one of 10 Black kids in Greeley. My mom is a lesbian, and we got kicked out of churches for that. She still keeps her faith, and that impresses me.

My energetic, outgoing side didn’t evolve until I was 16 or 17.

Discrimination is there wherever you look, but it’s about how you perceive it and handle it. I can only control myself. People on either side don’t want to allow their minds to be changed.

As a kid I was angry and sad and quiet, but today, I hope that people see me being happy and see that as an example. The world is negative enough. Life is about what you choose to do with your power and knowledge.

If you have suggestions for My Name Is, please contact David Gilbert at dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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