‘The Trees Will Grow Again’
Southwestern Detroit hip hop artist’s video connects world struggles
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Sacramento Knoxx, a Southwest Detroit hip hop artist and co-founder of The Raiz Up hip hop collective, has released a new music video, “The Trees Will Grow Again,” as a message of hope for a tomorrow in light of today’s struggles.
The video raises awareness about injustices against Palestinian people. It calls for a boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel in the wake of the recent attacks on the people of Gaza, while equating their struggle to the oppression facing people of color in North America.
“Earth is our priority right now, there’s a war going on on the Earth,” Sacramento Knoxx told The Michigan Citizen. Knoxx, an Ojibwe First Nations person, says damage being done to the environment and the oppression of various global cultures have the same origin. “It’s all our same struggle for this earth to grow this back because these same forces, these same negative energies draining these things, (the song is) an ode to that.
“These trees will grow again,” he says. “This earth will rise up, it’s going to be the earth we need it to be.” Knoxx says the song also speaks to decolonization.
“Obviously decolonization looks different in two sets of land, here and there, but in terms of this time and what’s going on,” he says, “we need to bring back our environment and that’s decolonization on this side of the home front.”
The video, featuring DJ Dez, a Detroit-based hip hop artist with a large international following, was filmed in Oakland, Calif., where Sacramento Knoxx spent time this summer with community organizers to learn more about the process of activism. Through this education, he was able to construct the message of the song, record at a local studio and capture riveting images of demonstrations for the people of Gaza that he used in the video.
“I think what was important or crucial about the track was the actual process itself, building with the (Oakland) community and getting educated there. Connecting all my resources, building with the community, understanding their struggles and connecting all the dots.”
The themes of decolonization, environmental protection, the ending of police brutality and the protection of immigrant families are themes that run throughout the video, giving the project a sense of urgency with regard to recent world events.
“It’s a beautiful struggle,” he says. “Even in the face of all this chaos and mayhem, there (are) still people who have resistance, there’s still people living as family.”
Knoxx says the struggle, however, is the catalyst for change.
“All these things attack our communities, suppressing and repressing them some more … — all very distinct functions. Again it’s making those relationships: We need to build community in these times, we have to get educated, get through these things, understand and draw some lines here, make very distinct functions of what we’re going to accept and not accept as a community.”
Watch “The Trees Will Grow Again” at www.youtube.com/SouthwestKnoxx .