Middle school students in Baltimore wrote and recorded a new song to tell the world that they are not giving up on their city.
The students wrote “Believe in Baltimore” as part of the Believe in Music program, which helps students create and record their own music. The program is supported by the Living Classrooms foundation.
The riots that erupted in Baltimore in April -- after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody -- left some students feeling unsafe in their own homes and hopeless. In stepped Believe in Music founder Kenny Liner, who challenged the students to write a song about the events and their reactions.
"He told us to drop everything and start writing about how we felt about the Freddie Gray case and the riots," Taniyah Kutcherman, a Believe in Music student, told WBAL.
The students came together with local radio station WTMD, as well as the bands Future Islands and Mt. Royal, among other groups, to create an inspiring song that incorporates rock, pop, and hip-hop styles.
Their music video, directed by Chris LaMartina, for the song already has more than 5,000 views on YouTube.
The lyrics include “We shouldn’t have to be victims in our own community” and whatever happened to the city of charm?”
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"This city's where we live, this city's where we come from," the chorus sings. "Won't let it crumble into mass destruction."
The catchy, upbeat lyrics and rhythm of the song are no accident. The students and musicians designed the song and video to have people humming the song, hearing its message.
The riots took away the students’ voices, they said, and they were thrilled at the opportunity to take their voices back.
“I think it's important for the youth to have a voice,” Kutcherman said. “When I'm doing this I feel like I have a voice. I can use my words to tell people how I feel."