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Originally published June 9, 2012 at 8:13 PM | Page modified June 11, 2012 at 4:16 PM

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Blue Scholars' Prometheus Brown writes a song for the city

Editor's note: After people were gunned down in Seattle neighborhoods, we asked Prometheus Brown, a member of the Blue Scholars hip-hop act, to write a guest column. The op-ed turned into a song and video performance.

Special to The Seattle Times

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Never heard of this, city getting murderous —

occupation dangerous like Philippine journalists.

Crazy and deranged they describe him in the same pages

that would call him terrorist, if not for the melanin deficiency.


Gang problem bigger than just juvenile delinquency.

Gangs is survival if environments is grimy.

To begin with — speaking of which, let’s be consistent —

Today is called a tragedy, yesterday a statistic.


I’m listening, before I ever speak upon insisting.

My name is young Prometheus and this is my opinion:

Watch “The Interrupters,” see ordinary civilians

can police themselves before they have to call police for help.


At least a little space to breathe, if you believe all violence

is abhorrent to your being, then why you oversee it?

If the killer wears a uniform but if the killer’s me,

it’s normal if the victim also looks like me.


Shots fired in the south end, nobody cares.

Shots fired in the north end, everybody scared.

Nothing they can do for us that we can’t do ourselves.

Point the finger at the mirror instead of somebody else.


Shots fired in the parking lot, nobody cares.

Shots fired in the coffee shop, everybody scared.

Nothing they can do for us that we can’t do ourselves.

Point the finger at the mirror instead of somebody else.


Can’t lie, I know the music can be influential,

but not as influential as desperation. They saying

that you gotta act right if you wanna have rights,

but what if you were born into a wrong situation?


Moral relativity — that passive aggressive city stuff —

becoming history quicker than you can blink at me.

Rule 1: Protect yourself at all times.

Rule 2: Always end but never start a fight.


Came up in the era of the hand-to-hand scrapping

‘til the drugs happened, now it’s bloodshed at transactions.

I’m calling time out like Samuel L. Jackson

playing DJ Love Daddy with the African medallion.


Tryin’a do the right thing. I don’t have the answers,

but neither does a person who practices double standards.

If every death’s a tragedy then join us when we’re chanting,

and not just when we’re singing and dancing. Too many


shots fired in the south end, nobody cares.

Shots fired in the north end, everybody scared.

Nothing they can do for us that we can’t do ourselves.

Point the finger at the mirror instead of somebody else.


Shots fired in the parking lot, nobody cares.

Shots fired in the coffee shop, everybody scared.

Nothing they can do for us that we can’t do ourselves.

Point the finger at the mirror instead of somebody else.


Prometheus Brown, also known as George Quibuyen, lives in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle.


Blue Scholars' recording of the song "Mayday"


Q: Why did this particular news story — the recent shootings — resonate with you?


A: I am alarmed that it’s happening so frequently lately. I drove by two recent ones in Rainier Beach minutes after it happened. It’s something that’s been happening for a long time in the south end. It’s become normalized.


Q: What do you hope our readers take away from this?


A: I just want to keep the conversation going. I’m holding up a mirror to everyone who has a convenient explanation or solution. Myself included. It’s obvious that whatever we’ve tried in the past hasn’t worked. Opportunists from all sides of the political spectrum have used the issue of violence as a lightning rod. There is a political side to this issue but not in the way I’ve seen it online and in mainstream media, where it’s simplified to a gangs-versus-guns debate. History and economic factors that have shaped our culture and communities always seem to be left out of the conversation, as if it’s just human nature to be violent.

Have more questions for him? Come back Wednesday. Brown is joining us for a Seattle Times live chat at noon on Wednesday, June 13.Sharon Pian Chan


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