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Memphis rapper KiaShine uses platform to shine light on autism

Memphis native and rapper/ songwriter uses fame to bring awareness to autism after his son was diagnosed at 2-years-old.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis native rapper Kia Shine has made appearances on television shows like Saints and Sinners, movies like Superfly, and especially performing his hit singles like “Stunna Frames” and "Krispy" at the Memphis Grizzlies Games.  

“Dillon Brooks always wears his large stunner frames to the press conferences, so it just so happened that it just worked and they have what is called the "stunner frames" night. (That’s) what we’re calling it now in December, looks like we’re making this an annual thing,” said Kia Shine. 

However Shine doesn’t do it just for the fame, but for a reason much bigger. 

“It is a purpose, I do it for the cause, not the applause, I do it for the purpose,” Shine explained. 

That purpose for him hit home when his now 12-year-old son Jamison was diagnosed with non-verbal autism at the age of 2 years old.  

“I always say, having a son with autism is one of the best things that ever happened to me, and then also one of the hardest things that ever happened to me,” said Shine. 

Instead of dealing with it in private, Kia Shine and his wife Queen Coleman decided to spread their stories to help other families that may be fighting the same battle. 

“Just like two days ago my wife and I heard him say the word candy for the first time, that was a huge blessing to us because we never heard him say that. But you have to be in it for the whole fight. Just like the grizzlies are down 3-1 somedays you feel like you get up and you’re down three one but you have to still keep going and that’s what we’re doing as a family,” said Shine. 

Through music, their non-profit Autism Advocates Inc., and their "Coffee With Kinfolk" brand, the Coleman’s help to bring families in the autistic community together. 

“It means the world to me, it really does because you don’t feel alone. A lot of times when you have a child with autism you feel alone, it feels like you’re on an island by yourself dealing with this thing.” 

However, the Coleman’s are not alone, and each day they strive to remind other families of that same message.

“I’m just blessed to be used to let other people know. So I’m blessed to be used as a vessel it’s important for me to be used. If you can’t be used, you’re useless,” said Kia Shine.