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.