“Dream Reborn” Music Contest Changes Oakland Artist’s Outlook

Editor’s Note: This blog was written by Invest, who, together with Silent C, won last year’s Dream Reborn Music Contest for their song “7 Billion” This year’s contest begins on January 22. Find out more about the contest (and how you can enter) here: http://gfa.fchq.ca/the-dream-reborn-song-competition-are-you-next/

by Invest

When I was a child, I thought the things I was witnessing in Oakland, California —from the drug dealing to the prostitution— was the way things were supposed to be. I felt that the world was always like this and there was no reason to try to change it. I was raised in a neighborhood called Brookfield which is located in Deep East Oakland. Growing up, we were all poor kids with dreams of being successful but without any real-life role models to show us the way. Born into poverty, we naturally developed a strong desire to provide for ourselves and our families by any means necessary. Like many kids in my community, I thought my path to success was playing basketball or hustling on the streets. 

As I evolved as a young man, I started to look at things differently. I became more aware of the social conditions that created my everyday reality. Today, I understand that we should all have access to living wage jobs, healthy food, and clean air and water. All people deserve an opportunity to make a living while sustaining the earth for future generations. Since I grew up without any of these things, Green For All’s mission resonated with me and I wanted to plug into the movement in the best way I could.

The Dream Reborn contest presented that opportunity.  I learned a lot about Green For All’s work and the importance of movement-building as a result of working hard to get people to vote for our song “7 Billion” in the contest, and from winning the competition to create the music video.

The beginning of the video showcases my family struggles, which also represents the plight of struggling families through out America. My mother, sister, brother and nephews were very excited about being featured in the video, which was a blessing in itself. Many of my family and friends became more aware of the social movements we were highlighting in the song after watching the video. Thanks to Green For All’s support, we received special support from people like Usher, Van Jones and Jeff Johnson. At the end of the day, I’m just happy to know that something that I help to create is having an impact on the world in a positive way. Let’s keep it building!

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