Ice Cube has released a new song and video, Why Me?, that highlights the shooting death of Los Angeles teen Jamiel Shaw Jr.
Shaw, a 17-year-old high school football star on track for a college scholarship, was gunned down in March a few yards from his house in a working-class neighborhood south of downtown Los Angeles. His mother was serving in the Army in Iraq at the time.
The story resonated with Cube, a product of the mean streets of the Los Angeles area, and he decided to write the song and shoot a video to memorialize Shaw and speak out against senseless violence. In an AP story he says:
“It just was a tragic, tragic story of why,” Cube says. “Young people are dying for no reason all over the world that don’t know why. It’s ugly, everywhere.”
The video begins with the sorrow-filled faces of Shaw’s parents and aunt. His father recounts a final conversation with his son. “To drive this home, it was only right to use real family and not use a bunch of actors,” Cube says. The video also features photographs of dozens of other crime victims blowing from a tree, then across the sand in the desert.
I have to say, I really love how Ice Cube went from being a “gangster rapper” with N.W.A. to being this sort of socially conscious guy. It’s further proof that we shouldn’t dismiss music/musicians that scare us or we don’t understand because often, they’re good people with a good message.
Watch the video: