Mosaic Community Essays

—Charles “Chachi” Carvahlo
Cape Verdean
Pawtucket, Rhode Island

This One's For Pops!

To listen to this story, click the play button above. The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.


As an artist, I have always tried to do and say things that would allow me to stand out in a crowd. 

By standing on a stage and pouring my heart into a microphone, I have been able to influence the way people see me, interact with me, and provide them with a template of how to describe me to others. I guess that is what makes being an artist so special. You are able to try new things in order to be different from everybody else, all while holding onto the morals and values that define who you want to be in this world. This has always been important to me. The preservation of my reputation is critical to the development of my own legacy.

I believe that this is similar to the way certain statues, monuments, buildings and events paint a picture about the collective identity of places. WaterFire is one of those events that is simple in nature, super creative, collaborative, and utilizes all of the above mentioned to allow Rhode Island to have this unique defining “thing” that separates it from the surrounding regions. Even the name sparks curiosity for those who have never experienced it.

As amazing as this event is and has been for this area, there is still much work to be done in order to make all large scale public events in our area feel like inviting and safe spaces that are a reflection of the whole community. That is why it is extremely important for organizations such as the Papitto Opportunity Connection to continue to bravely create, advocate for, and provide resources for spaces like WateFire to be dedicated to the celebration of artists and creatives of color in this region. We, collectively, are a powerful force, a voice of reason, and a wonderful asset to help continue to shape our collective identity.

I am a first generation Cape Verdean American who comes from a long line of musicians. I have been very fortunate to find success through music by finding ways to fuse my Cape Verdean heritage and culture into my love of hip hop culture, ultimately creating my own unique blend of international hip hop. I am extremely excited to grace the stage with my amazing bandmates and share our music with WaterDire at 6pm on Saturday August 13th at the Steeple Street Stage. The entire night is going to be filled with incredible artists that will bring positive energy into the city and uplift communities of color. I encourage everyone to stop by what promises to be an amazing event!

My father was a musician. He chased the American Dream and traveled to the states as a stowaway in search of love and braved the unknown to define his future self. I am that future self. He transitioned 12 years ago and has been my primary inspiration ever since. As much as we miss him, my family knows that his mission was accomplished. He left us love, music, culture, and a foundation to build from. He sacrificed everything so we could have better and be better. His birthday is the day before the show, so this one’s for Pops! 

This essay is by Chachi Carvahlo, a Rhode Island native artist with Cape Verdean roots. To learn more about Chachi, go to

To learn more about Mosaic’s community essays and submit your own essay, visit



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