Here’s How Hawaiian Rapper Prizzy Prie Is Making A Change At Home

Posted: August 13, 2016 in LATEST NEWS
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by Trent Clark

Here's How Hawaiian Rapper Prizzy Prie Is Making A Change At Home
Melanie Shih-Lan Tjoeng

Few people would expect a tourist hotbed such as Hawaii to be the target of political protests but make no mistake: there are those individuals who will never let the lavish vacation settings of palm trees cloudless skies distort their own reality as to what’s actually going on in the world.

The consecutive deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of law enforcement sent shockwaves across the entire country and the city of Honolulu was no exception, thanks to the studious efforts of local rap sensation Prizzy Prie and a handful of others with their March For Peace initiative.

On July 11, I just happened to be in the heart of said tourist hotbed in the area of Waikiki when I saw roughly 50 protestors marching up the street; stoic visual reminders to anyone who had slunk away to the regions of utopia figuring that the world wasn’t as sunny as their vacation allowed them to believe. Some onlookers expressed immediately shock while others tried their best to ignore it in hopes that the moment would soon pass. As I sat in the most convenient of stalwart traffic, a lesbian couple broke their hand embrace to enthusiastically cheer them on from across the street. The march was a success.

As I came to find out, it was Prie who had organized the protest, who he says is boosted by the reggae/Hip Hop drummers The Late Ones, for they are an invaluable asset when it comes to coordinating sponsors and create ideas.

The success has not only transcended to a second march recently being announced for the month of September, the mayor of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, has also put his support behind the movement.

While shooting a segment for the upcoming television episode of mydiveoLive with Roslynn Cobarrubias, I sat down with Prie to gauge his thoughts on speaking out on injustice all the way from Hawaii.

And just in case you were wondering, his bars match the intensity of his thoughts. He recently was unofficially crowned the winner for our impromptu #DXLive artist submission segment.

A versatile lyrical delivery. Social commentary. Action outside of the booth. This is what being a great MC is all about, right?

HipHopDX: So what propelled you to organize this protest?

Prizzy Prie: Just to open critical dialogue and bring people together through communities with positive ideals and to help inspire the adults and the youth to come together.

DX: How did you organize it? Was it through social media or did you just get in the streets and recruit people?

prizzy prie

Photo: Melanie Shih-Lan Tjoeng

The police were amazing, they were definitely cooperative and they were there to make sure that everybody was safe. After that, we actually all got together and had food and drinks with the police. They were awesome, they are local brothers and they know [the deal].

Prizzy Prie: I put together the flyer and I had this idea and just told my friends that I see so many people on social media just pouring out their feelings but not enough people taking action.

DX: This is after the Dallas shooting?

Prizzy Prie: Yeah. So I don’t really like to go on social media because of that, but that’s what I’ve seen. And I figured every time we walk out the door people’s perception changed off of what they see from social media whether that’s positive or negative, but a lot of that is negative because it’s based off of world media and what they promote. So me and my friends were all just like we have to bring people together from all backgrounds and just open this critical dialogue that’s needed and let’s get together, let’s bring some ideals together. We can bring people of different cultural backgrounds together and unite communities and take a stand against all this negativity and the smoke screen that they try to put to divide people.

DX: Being from Hawaii, it seems like there might be a disconnect. It seems like you guys don’t have anything to worry about because it’s like a vacation town — maybe outside of a volcano erupting — but what were people in the community saying following Dallas and Alton Sterling and Philando Castile?

Prizzy Prie: They were saying a lot, they were expressing their feelings,

DX: And this is black and white people?

Prizzy Prie: This is all, this is a melting pot, but what people don’t realize is there’s a lot of struggle here. There’s a lot of oppression, there’s a lot of discrimination definitely gentrification where the Hawaii homestead people are getting ran off because of the prices of millionaires coming and buying up the land and upping the price of living so people can barely live. How I know is because I live in the public housing and my grandmother has been living in Kalihi for 40+ years and been helping give back to Kalihi and I see so many different people and different cultures come in and out. And what’s affecting it is black folks, Polynesians, Micronesians that recently got their island bombed and the U.S. was to blame for that so they brought them here and now they’re putting them on 50-something years of paying for that because the kids all have radiation and stuff like that and are all deformed. So it’s crazy and for me, I was lucky enough to get the best of both worlds.

Prie’s video for his #DXLive-stealing song, “The Life & A Day of a Madd Nigga.”Being raised in Vegas and being around the gang violence and then coming back here, and then seeing a whole different thing where everybody else is just as much as affected. That’s what gave me the idea to put this together and to see the responses from the people that didn’t know that were fighting for Alton Sterling and all that, they were like wow this is crazy I had no idea that this was going on here because I thought this was all palm trees, plastic cups, and sunny. They only promote that just to attract tourism but there’s seriously so much going on.

DX: How far did you guys travel the day of the protests?

Prizzy Prie: Straight from Ala Moana Beach Park [in Oahu] to the world famous Waikiki Strip. We wanted to make a bold statement with all the people there, even the people that forgot and had slept on the idea of raising awareness and being a voice to bring people together because a lot of people doubt that by saying “you’re not going to do anything together.” But it’s way better than just sitting on a couch and venting your feelings and not doing anything about it. You’re getting in your feelings and not actually taking action and uniting different communities from all over the place and different backgrounds from all over the place and come together with positive ideas, find a solution, and make a move and not just sit on your butt behind a computer screen or scroll on your phone.

DX: What was the police presence like during the protests? It was a peaceful protest, right?

Prizzy Prie: Yeah, it was peace marching and social gathering. The police were amazing, they were definitely cooperative and they were there to make sure that everybody was safe. After that, we actually all got together and had food and drinks with the police. They were awesome, they are local brothers and they know. They wear the badge but they know and some aren’t even afraid and some are shocked that someone my age could even put this together.

DX: How old are you?

Prizzy Prie: I’m 24. So they were really shocked and were like, “Man, this is crazy.” and I was even shocked myself because people were telling me, “You’re like a young MLK.” And I was like “Woah, chill. I’m just here bring people together so we can get some ideas going and create this critical dialogue that needs to be amongst the people.”

DX: It’s interesting that you said that because I think that’s an issue that a lot of people have is that the police are not connected with their community, but out here it seems like it’s a little bit different story.

Prizzy Prie: Yeah, because they are families. And it’s the same thing up there, but they try to blur the line between the police and the people but with the police officers, that’s their family members so they’re basically fighting each other and the system has put that smoke screen to divide people like that. The police are the same people as your family and your neighbors but they fail to realize that and that’s why [the] Mainland and America is going through so much because they fail to see the bigger picture, but here you have no choice but to see it because we all live together.

It’s like one big community. And it’s the same thing for America but again they try to put that line across with police and citizens but they’ve got families too. They’re the same. So if that understanding is there, I think a lot of that conflict that they’re going through right now would be solved. Just like the same family members of the officers who arrested a lot of people at Mount Mauna Kea for building the telescope. Those same officers were arresting their own family members based off of what? A check? Just to pay their bills and to feed their family? But if that’s what comes into play and that’s the system and that’s the game we have been adjusted to play. Its all one big game at the end of the day whether people want to believe it or not but it definitely is.

For more of Prizzy Prie, like his official Facebook page and follow him on Twitter and SoundCloud.

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