Screwston, Texas

Houston Rappers Have a Message: "Stop Killing Us"

You ever get the feeling you're watching a re-run when you think something is brand new? That's how it has felt for the past eight months watching the unrest and uproar from Ferguson to Staten Island to Baltimore. Names change, hashtags change; the sentiment, however, doesn't.

Last summer, mass protests were sparked in Houston after a grand jury in Ferguson, Mo. refused to indict officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown. "Hands Up Houston" was the official rallying cry. Black, green and red, the colors of the Pan-African flag, were the secondary symbol. Loud, vociferous citizens young and old were the primary marchers.

Now Genesis Blu, a local female rapper who is starting to gain her own footing, has helped start a movement known as #StillDreamin. The initiative even prompted Mayor Annise Parker to respond by declaring April 24 as '"Still Dreamin" Day" in the City of Houston. It may have flown under the radar since it's about a social cause and not a celebrity, but the message was clear: the city's youth are not apathetic towards social change, especially if the society they dreamed about as kids has not yet become a reality.

Recently Blu teamed up with 11 other rappers for "Stop Killing Us," echoing the similar sentiments of J.Cole last August. Among the multiple images that float throughout the video are riots in Ferguson, an American flag upside down, jailed revolutionaries and each MC in a black hoodie, preaching the same message while discussing how little past differs from the present.

The video is dedicated to Jordan Baker, a Houston man who was killed last December by a HPD officer. Baker was unarmed and the officer was not indicted in his death.

"I'm just gonna leave this right here," Blu wrote in a post on her Google+ page. "SMH America. #FreddieGray #WalterScott and a million more."

You can see the "Stop Killing Us" video for yourself and follow along as Blu and her army of like-minded individuals protest in their own way -- through song.

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Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell