“We are not afraid. We will not give up, give in. We just want to live and change this world. Don’t shoot my future” - Don’t Shoot
In honor of the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, 8 teens from Atlanta released “Don’t Shoot” today, an original song featuring social commentary on gun violence from the perspective of our youth. By creating art as a response to violence and oppression, these teens are engaging nonviolent principles championed by Dr. King to fight for justice and change. In his autobiography, MLK Jr. said, “I am firmly committed to the creative power of nonviolence as the force which is capable of winning lasting and meaningful brotherhood and peace.” The teens who wrote, performed, and produced this song and music video are raising their voices and asking the public to listen.
"Don't Shoot" was written and recorded at TURNER Studios. The music video was produced by Captain Lisa Cunningham (Atlanta Film Partners) with student film crew: Daniel Martinez, David Choi, Khairi Corporal, and Taj-Malik Tavares. Industry professionals Da Jerkz and Ryan Peoples worked with teens Bailey Frost, En Kawli Myint, Glory Shay, Mimi Aung, Briana Williams, and Abid Syed on writing, performance, and music production.
The song and music video were created through a collaboration between re:imagine/ATL and Hip Hop Loves Foundation as part of the Stop Shooting initiative. "Working on the Stop Shooting initiative allowed me to use my voice in a way that would be most impactful. The continued and unwarranted assaults on people of color by people whose job it is to uphold the law is deplorable. I will not be silent in the face of such atrocity,” said Stop Shooting initiative partner Yusef Salaam from the Central Park 5 Trial. Both organizations use art and storytelling to empower youth voices for social justice.
Susanna Spiccia, Founder and Executive Director of re:imagine/ATL started the organization in 2014 to equip, develop, and elevate young storytellers. “Issues around race, gender, sexuality, and religion are hard for most adults to tackle, but these teens aren’t afraid to tell their stories and make sure their opinions are being heard loud and clear. We hope that by giving kids the opportunity to create songs and content like ‘Don’t Shoot’ they’ll be able to create a future they want to live in.”
"We feel the song is important because the Hip Hop community, as a whole, has been pretty dormant in regards to taking action on issues around gun violence. It's affecting all demographics of people. Having our youth take a stand and raise their voice is a great way to take action, unify, and create a solution for this," said Rene John-Sandy II Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Hip Hop Loves Foundation.
“Don’t Shoot” will be available next week for download or streaming on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your music. The music video drops today on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EWoElv7bG18. All proceeds will benefit re:imagine/ATL and the Hip Hop Loves Foundation. Please contact re:imagine/ATL Communications Director, Ava Kelly, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
About re:imagine/ATL: re:imagine/ATL empowers the next generation of content creators in Atlanta. Since 2014, re:imagine/ATL has connected over 600 students through in-school and out-of-school programming designed to cultivate creative storytelling through film and digital media production. To learn more and get involved, visit www.reimagineatl.com.
About Hip Hop Loves: Hip-Hop Loves Foundation (HHL) is a NYC-based nonprofit that co-produces workshops, seminars, and events that create space for dialogue and exploration on the themes of success, youth empowerment, and social justice through Hip Hop. The Foundation views Hip-Hop as the cultural intersection of many vibrant forms of expression including dance, sports, visual arts, and technology. Our programs are based in the US and abroad, thus enabling us to strengthen global relationships with grassroots organizations, and companies that value youth. For more information: www.hiphoploves.org