Hip-hop Music Video Features Artists with Intellectual Disabilities
An advocacy group for intellectual disabilities based in Newcastle recently released a hip-hop music video. The video, which premiered at a red carpet event, features seven different artists, including two nonverbal individuals who rap using communication devices.
The video was made possible by Speak Up Hunter, a peer support group for people with intellectual disabilities. The artists featured in the video, including MC Jaco (Jacob Hughes) and The King (Robert King), teamed up with award-winning Shane Tunz to create the song, collaborating on its message, chorus, and lyrics. Tunz encouraged the artists to explore questions like “What do you love to do?” and “What would you like to say to the world?”
The artists’ answers to these questions represent the breadth of passion. MC Jaco raps about Harry Potter, and Jessica Storey wrote about her love for horse riding. “My World” fits perfectly with the organization’s emphasis on decision-making and self-advocacy. The support group encourages people with intellectual disabilities to talk about the things that are important to them and to use their voice, even if that means acquiring the skills necessary to do so.
Making the video was an emotional experience for members of Speak Up Hunter. At its heart, “My World” is about freedom. MC Leo (Leigh Creighton), who was previously profiled on ABC’s You Can’t Ask That, wanted to use hip-hop to talk about inclusion. Artists rap about what they love, their dreams and aspirations, making it clear their disabilities are not going to keep them from achieving what they want to. It’s not about creating a separate world for people with intellectual disabilities, but sharing the world that already exists, the world we all live in.
MC Leo hopes that “My World” is the first step towards something bigger. He has dreams on an international scale – dreams that many members of Speak Up Hunter share. The lyrics of “My World” echo this sentiment, with refrains like “we’re gonna be seen, we’re gonna be heard” and “get out of the way, this is my world.”
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