R&B legend Chaka Khan announced today the release of a tribute video in support of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old youth who was gunned down in Sanford, Fla., Feb. 26, one month ago today, by George Zimmerman, who was never arrested and remains free. Zimmerman has said Martin looked suspicious because he was wearing a hooded jacket, or hoodie.
Entitled “Super Life: Fear Kills, Love Heals,” the project is a collaboration between Chaka Khan, production partner Strange Fruit Media and digital media partner Qubeey, Inc. Strange Fruit Media’s Nia T. Hill directs the video and D’Angela Proctor is the executive producer. Tammy McCrary of Chaka Khan Enterprises and Marc Brogdon of Qubeey serve as producers. Qubeey will digitally deliver the video and other elements via its browser-free communications platform. The tribute is available at www.chakakhan.com and www.cnn.com.
Starting this week, “Super Life: Fear Kills, Love Heals” will have its own customized Qubeey channel that will deliver the video to users’ desktops, iPods, iPads, mobile and Tablet tops. To visit the channel, download the Qube at www.qubeey.com
Fed up with news reports about the tragic Martin case, 10-time Grammy winner Khan said she decided to “not just complain about it, but to do something about it.” Within 48 hours, she brought together several entertainment industry friends and Los Angeles community residents to make a statement for justice using a medium she knows well – a music video in the form of a PSA.
Khan said she was inspired as the mother of two children, including a son, to do something to make a difference.
“It’s up to us as parents and as a community to come together to make a change,” said Khan.
“I am a mother, and I’m also a mother with a voice. It’s time for those of us who have a voice to speak out for life, for love and for justice using the same media we’ve used throughout our careers. Now is the time to use media for the benefit of humanity as a whole. As purveyors of content and media, we need to use our voices to stop injustice at the sight of its origin. We have to be the voice for the voiceless, for the Trayvon Martins of this world,” she said.
Dozens came to Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood, the site of the historic “We Are the World” recording, in the pouring rain on Sunday and donned a hoodie to take a stand for the life of Trayvon Martin and a stand for life for all humanity. Using the 2007 Chaka Khan song “Super Life” as a musical backdrop, they repeated the same phrases, “Fear Kills, Love Heals,” “I Am Trayvon Martin,” and “I Am Living a Super Life.”
The lyrics to the tune, written by Chaka Khan and Ricky Rouse, speak of needless violence and injustice in the community and, though, it was recorded in 2007, it describes the social ills that remain today, especially relevant in the Trayvon Martin case.
Khan contacted several friends, including actor Boris Kodjoe who joined the project early and assisted with coordination and outreach.
“Trayvon Martin is an example against human rights. Sometimes we have these situations appear and disappear two seconds later. When we’re sitting at home on the couch we may think there is nothing we can do. If we come together we can affect great change,” Kodjoe said.
Other celebrities who participated include actors Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Sharon Leal, DeRay Davis, Keke Palmer, Garcelle Beauvois, Terry Crews and his wife and reality television star Rebecca Crews; model Toccara, music artists Kelly Price, Eric Benet, Kenny Lattimore, Veronika, Stacy Francis, actor/comedian Chris Spencer, Billie Woodruff and many others.
Several artists who were unable to attend the shoot sent videotapes, including Common, Macy Gray, Meshell Ndegeocello, Talib Kweli, Jasmine Guy, Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith and Dr. Rickie Byars Beckwith.
Kodjoe’s children, Bassett’s children, Lattimore’s son, Khan’s nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and many other youth participated in the taping.
Many celebs compared their children to Trayvon Martin.
Rebecca Crews said, “Trayvon Martin is my son. I am the mother of a black boy who is six and a half and Trayvon could be my son. End of story.”
“I am the mother of a 19-year-old black man and on any given day you can see him walking around in a hoodie. As a mother, I have a responsibility to do whatever I can to effect change,” said Price.
Bassett said she is involved in the project “because I have a little boy child who is brilliant and full of potential. You just get sick and tired of this dual reality that you have to teach our children. He should be able to live life fearlessly and with adventure.”
Kevin Frazier of “The Insider” was on site as a reporter to cover the story about the PSA. He decided to lend his voice to the effort.
“This is important, I cover the biggest stars in the world every day and we talk about some of the most insignificant things in the world, compared to this. I have two young boys. I have three boys in all, but two young boys. They’re going to grow up in this world. If I don’t come out here and support this, then I’m not supporting my sons,” Frazier said.
Benet talked about the collaborative effort for the PSA. “When an injustice this horrific happens, anybody with a voice, it’s our duty to use it. That’s why I’m here,” he said.
“X Factor” star Stacy Francis said, “We decided to come together to pay respect to this young man. The girl who threw flour on Kim Kardasian is behind bars and the man who killed Trayvon Martin is free.”
Also, she said during Sunday service, her pastor mentioned that television personality “Geraldo said Hispanics and African Americans shouldn’t wear hoodies. Martin Luther King wasn’t wearing a hoodie. Other people who fought and died for us weren’t wearing hoodies. This has to be addressed for the sake of our children; for the sake of my children,” she said.
“As a filmmaker, there is no greater gift than to have the opportunity to use your talents for a higher purpose. In my mind, there is no higher purpose than reminding people all over the world that even in trying times and tragic circumstances such as these, there is still hope for healing through compassion and love. With “Super Life,” Chaka Khan embodies compassion, love and so much more,” said Hill.
“Qubeey Inc. is excited to have participated in the production of the “Super Life: Fear Kills, Love Heals” project. In support of the movement, Qubeey will digitally deliver the video and other elements via our unprecedented cloud technology,” said Marc Brogdon, Vice President of Marketing for ?Qubeey.