When His Daughters Asked Hard Questions About Tamir Rice, Local Rapper Yirim Seck Made a Song

“We Call it Murder,” speaks to the psychological damage images of brutality are having on children.

Local rapper and community activist Yirim Seck’s “We Call it Murder,” music video was inspired by questions he was getting from his 10-year-old daughter.

“She was asking me questions based on the imagery she was seeing on the internet,” Seck tells me. Seck, whose two daughters are 10 and 11, was forced to find a way to explain police brutality to his young children after they were exposed to footage of the shooting of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy gunned down by police officers in Cleveland. “I realized I wasn’t prepared to answer these [questions] in the right way. It got me thinking that if we’re not having these conversations with our kids and giving them an understanding, then we’re not taking into consideration the long term psychological effects these issues may be having on them. They’re being prepped like this is the norm, but nah this isn’t cool.”

To address these issues, Seck turned to his art. “We Call it Murder,” tackles police brutality and the ways images of executions enter our homes, where they are viewed by our children.

In the video, Seck, along with his two daughters, sit in their home watching clips on computers, television, and tablets.

“I just watched Roots with my daughter,” he raps, “That was something different/ And judging by the questions posed lets me know she’s listening/ She let me know she’s pissed at this/ That 12-year-old was just a kid.”

Seck acknowledges the fact that kids today are growing up in a unique time. While police brutality is certainly not a new issue, the cultural influence of social media and the vast availability of cameras and internet have culminated in a generation of African American youth who are growing up witnessing images of their people being murdered by police. This new reality worries Seck, who says, “That’s trauma man. To see somebody of your own age that young get gunned down.”

Times have changed. Murders are being video-taped and ready to be streamed with the click of a mouse. Seck urges everyone to have these conversations with the youth to ensure they don’t become desensitized to this violence.

More in Music

Full Upstream Music Fest Lineup Revealed

The reunited Jawbreaker joins Miguel, The Flaming Lips, and a myriad of local bands.

Sasquatch! Music Festival 2018 Lineup Revealed

David Byrne, Tyler, the Creator, Bon Iver, The National, and Modest Mouse headline the Gorge.

Courtesy Barsuk Records
Song Premiere: Hibou’s ‘Black Mirror’-Inspired “Junipero Love”

The Seattle indie pop songwriter gets lost in dreamy sound on a new track from ‘Something Familiar.’

Photo by Danny Clinch
Pearl Jam Announces Safeco Field Concerts to Raise Money for Homelessness

August’s “The Home Shows” will be the band’s first Seattle gigs in five years.

The New Year’s Garbage Bash moves to Conor Byrne and brings along Honcho Poncho. Courtesy of the band
Your Guide to New Year’s Eve in Seattle

Fill your weekend with folly and frivolity and music for every taste as we ring in 2018.

The Encyclopedic Sets of T.Wan

Seattle’s most multifarious DJ finds her voice.

Versing Ascends to ‘Nirvana’

On their new record, the band explores self-criticism and problematic faves.

Heatwarmer. Courtesy of the artist
The Best Local Records We Heard This September Smooshed the Unsmooshable

Mackned, Heatwarmer, and Darto brought together styles we didn’t know could coexist.

In “Undying Light,” Tomo Nakayama Glows Amid the Darkness

Written as a balm before the election, forgotten, then revived, the song imagines brighter days.

Quoth the RVN

A local rapper trades hip-hop for soft grunge, exploring the darkness within.

On the Labor, Ego, and Reward Behind IVVY’s ‘Safe Within’

For Madi Levine, dance music is no place for rock stars.

Redoubling Its Efforts, an Artist-Lead Activist Group Asks Vulcan for Equitable Development

Initially emerging before the Upstream Music Fest, the coalition returns with new support and goals.