Hip-Hop Artist Matre Responds to Militarization of LAUSD Police

Los Angeles-based hip-hop artist Matre and the Embassy live collective release song in response to LAUSD Police Department

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: February 2, 2015

Hip-Hop Artist Matre Responds to Militarization of LAUSD Police

"Matre's 'Listen' is a powerful indictment of some school districts' tendency to treat their students as suspects and criminals, and a call for a fundamental change in the way we approach school safety. The track provides a voice to the thousands of California students who are fighting to reduce the presence of police on their campuses and to limit the use of searches in schools." --Victor Leung, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Southern California

Matre is a unique and powerful voice born out of the L.A. underground hip-hop scene. His music combines poignant, critical lyrics, with a genre-bending blend of styles, and a focus on community empowerment. He has toured globally, and shared the stage with Public Enemy, The Black Eyed Peas, and multi-platinum Finnish rapper Paleface. Matre also works with non-profits Street Poets, and the ShadeTree Multicultural Foundation, facilitating poetry workshops and healing circles, at juvenile detention facilities and schools locally and internationally. Embassy Live is a collective of artists focused on the transformative power of music and culture. The collective has grown to include collaborations with visual artists, film makers, and activists, all dedicated to working in this spirit.

Matre, and the Embassy Live collective, are hosting the community gathering and video shoot called "Students Not Suspects" on Sunday, February 8th. Members of community organizations such as the ACLU of Southern California, Community Rights Campaign, Street Poets, Inc., and Public Council will be present, together with LAUSD students. The general public is welcomed. "Students Not Suspects" is a community gathering and video-shoot for the new Matre and Embassy Live song "Listen." The song and event are about creating a powerful statement of community solidarity, demanding dignified treatment of young people, and an end to school militarization. The final scene of the "Listen" music video will be filmed. The scene will depict a large crowd standing together in solidarity with L.A. Unified students. The video-taping will be followed by dialogue, community celebration, music, and dancing! The event and video shoot is open to the public. Wearing clothing with large brand logos is not recommended, but community organization logos are acceptable.

The inspiration for "Listen," produced by Joe @LNB Music and Rick Ellis, rose from LAUSD's mandatory metal detector search policy, and the LAUSD Police's acceptance of military-grade surplus weapons from the federal programs, like the U.S. Department of Defense 1033 program. "This song is collaboration between musicians, filmmakers, artists, and activists, inspired to make sure this message is heard. We feel that adding more militarized police presence to school campuses via more weapons, and more metal detectors, is exactly the opposite of what our young people need. They need environments of trust," said Matre. In an effort to spread the word about the issue, the song was released as a free download on the Matre official website at: http://www.mcmatre.com/listen/.

Acclaimed Brooklyn-based urban visual artist Ganzeer was inspired to join this project with the Embassy Live collective, creating a series of art pieces, including the cover art for "Listen." Art in America Magazine referred to Ganzeer's work as "New Realism," and the Huffington Post ranked him among "25 Street Artists from Around the World who are Shaking Up Public Art." Ganzeer is one of 11 artists featured in a collection of films pioneered by U2 titled, Films of Innocence.

Join Matre and Embassy Live at "Students Not Suspects". See event details below:

Depict Inc.
1460 Naud Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Sunday, February 8th at 2:00 p.m.

Hashtags: #StudentsNotSuspects, #Listen

Kickstarter Crowd-funding link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/364543051/students-not-suspects-the-listen-music-video?ref=video

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