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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

St. Louis Area Artist Produces Music Video Capturing Protests Surrounding Michael Brown’s Murder

— Call To Action Video Puts Spotlight on White Cops Murdering Blacks —

St. Louis Rapper Mo Skillz

Kenneth “Mo Skillz” Jones

St. Louis, MO — An East St. Louis born-and-bred hip-hop impresario — who marched with protesters in Ferguson — has produced a YouTube music video that captures the fury, frustration and frenzy that exploded in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s murder. Through a dizzying montage, the video zooms in on Michael Brown’s execution and also on other innocents murdered at the hands of killer cops. The video also provides a historic overview of a disturbing pattern of similar atrocities.

Titled Hands Up! Don’t Shoot, the video is written and produced by Kenneth “Mo Skillz” Jones.

The Broadcast Version can be found at: http://youtu.be/vRSz-xrbVkg

The extended version of the Official Music Video can be accessed by logging on to: http://youtu.be/KNxnwIPW_T0

Because of its powerful message and images, the four-minute video is quickly becoming a rallying cry in the international outrage against white cops shooting/killing innocent black victims. With tensions mounting nationwide as evidenced by the fatal Wal-Mart shooting, and the recent shooting of an innocent black man by a white South Carolina state trooper, the video is being hailed as A Call to Action. At the same time, it is elevating Mo Skillz’ artistic stature as a skilled and sensitive chronicler of movements and messages.

The video shows defiant crowds with their hands raised yelling “Don’t Shoot!” There are also poignant scenes of memorials to the dead with crosses and flowers at the scene of the murders.

With Mo Skillz leading the “Don’t Shoot” refrain, the producers depict protesters of all ages hoisting signs and marching through the streets of Ferguson. The gripping video features raw footage of cops torturing and apprehending black youth including toppling a wheelchair bound youth and tackling a defenseless young woman.

With the staccato sounds of gunfire and the funeral dirge like refrain as a back sound, the video sparks powerful emotions and arouses deep-seated feelings. While the recent horror in Ferguson is at the center of the video, Hands Up! Don’t Shoot captures disturbing images from similar protests nationwide. It also pays homage to other victims gunned down by cops/wannabe cops including Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Kajieme Powell, Eric Garner, Kenneth Harding and John Crawford III.

Producer “Mo Skillz’ passion is authentic because these are his roots. He was born and bred in East St. Louis, Illinois a town in the vicinity of Ferguson. His family remains in the area, including a teenage daughter who attends the same school as Michael Brown. As a black man who understands the culture, and the pervasive evil of the area whose boundaries include Ferguson, he observed the mayhem from his current home in Atlanta. Watching with outrage, he knew he had to be there. He put all projects on hold and jetted to Ferguson. While marching in lock step with the protesters, the artist in him saw an opportunity to chronicle the passion through a music video. It is now hailed as the “Don’t Shoot Official Music Video.”

The recent destruction of Michael Brown’s memorial has triggered both a new wave of protests and a sense of urgency to release the video.

He says that the intent of the video is not to incite anger, but rather to use it as a platform to inspire peace.

“While the video shows the faces of anger and frustration,” says Mo Skillz, “I still want to promote peace. I want to use the format of the video as a call for good people to overcome evil.”

The video has won commendations from fellow artists and civil rights leaders including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.,President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Speaking on behalf of the organization, Chavis stated, “The NNPA resolutely supports the global demand for equal justice in the wake of the tragic, racially- motivated murder of young, unarmed Michael Brown by Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson. We endorse the creative genius of the production of the music video “Hands Up: Don’t Shoot” by Kenneth “Mo Skillz” Jones.  Of course what is happening in Ferguson, MO is not isolated from a terrible pattern of racially motivated violent and deadly attacks by law enforcement officers on Black America.  This video and Call to Action will help to sustain an effective national and international movement for freedom, justice and equality for all people.”

For more information on how to support the Call to Action, log on to www.DontShootMovement.com.

About Kenneth “Mo Skillz” Jones:
Born and raised in East St. Louis, Kenneth Jones a.k.a. Mo’ Skillz has set on a course to effect positive change in his family, community, and the world. As a producer, songwriter, motivational speaker, actor, video director, and humanitarian, he is using his unique voice and talents to make a lasting impact on the world as well as to use his story to give others hope. As a student at Lincoln High School in East St. Louis, he exhibited tremendous promise. Since graduating, his multi-dimensional talent has been on display since his early days when he was singing bass vocals arranging, and writing. He moved on to a supporting and lead role acting alongside Ray-J, Lisa Ray, Mia Campbell and AZ in the released film Envy. Mo’ Skillz also directed a music video by fellow St. Louis artists 2Sense that got national airplay on BET. He then went on to promote more than 50 local concerts featuring major recording artists, with one of the biggest marketing firms in St. Louis, Succhis Marketing Group, where he began as a sales executive and worked his way to vice president. He also produced and directed a documentary entitled The Midwest Connection showcasing himself and numerous other talents from the Midwest. Continuing his success trajectory, he then sought out the best beat makers in the area to start his own music production company, Skillz Factory Production Inc. To underscore his growing influence, Mo Skillz was selected by entertainment force Russell Simmons to serve as a member of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.

Melody McDowell

Charlene Goston