'Don’t Shoot' brings attention to gun violence
On MLK Day, eight Atlanta teens honor Dr. King's nonviolent principles with a powerful music video
“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.”
So sing the teens in music video “Don’t Shoot,” a collaboration between nonprofits re:imagine/ATL and Hip Hop Loves, released today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. The eight teens created “Don’t Shoot” as an original song with social commentary on gun violence from the perspective of ATL’s youth. They hope to bring attention to the nonviolent principles King campaigned for as a response to violence and calamity.
"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," said Rene John-Sandy II, cofounder and executive director of the New York City-based Hip Hop Loves Foundation, in a press release. "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."
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.
A series of gunshots is heard throughout the video as the dancers freeze and drop whatever they are holding, watching their futures changed in seconds. Check it out below to see for yourself. All proceeds from the video will benefit re:imagine/ATL and the Hip Hop Loves Foundation.