From young scientists to firebrand emcees with exceptional talent, there are youth of color doing amazing things in the face of adversity. Rapper TJ Brown is one of them.
The teenager, whose Facebook page says he’s from Harlem, came to our attention this weekend with a video (which you can watch above) from late April that features Brown addressing police brutality and transcending one’s environment over the beat from Nas’s landmark "NY State of Mind," with dexterity and passion that belies his youth. [Note: The transcription is the writer’s own, based on his interpretation of the audio.]:
Young black men getting killed by cops with no justice
rnttFight for equality, speak out, my eyes in big discussions
rnttFamilies losing loved ones, and they feeling disgusting
rnttNow we getting killed by cops that we thought they was trusting
Really, the video does Brown’s considerable skills more justice than anything we could transcribe—just watch it.
Brown was the focus of a documentary from last year, shot by video journalist Kareem Rahma* of The New York Times, that was profiled on The Urban Daily (which said that the young emcee is from The Bronx). Rahma first encountered Brown while riding a subway, where Brown was giving "the performance of a lifetime." Says the then-13-year-old Brown in the documentary about his own ambitions to become a role model for kids who follow him:
Being a role model is doing good things so kids and parents can say, "Be like this kid," or "Be like that kid he’s got good grades, he’s well-mannered and respectful, and he has an education."
I think Jay Z is a good role model because he has bigger goals. Now he has his own empire state, his own business, record label and he is just staying in his lane and doing what he’s supposed to.
Keep an eye out for this precocious young man.
(H/t The Urban Daily)
*This post has been changed to reflect a change of name after publication.