Over the last week, hip-hop heavyweights like Kanye West, Russell Simmons, Lupe Fiasco and Talib Kweli have lent their support to the growing Occupy Wall Street Movement at Zucotti Park in New York City. As the demonstration gains momentum in other cities across the nation, veteran rapper Bun B is now lending his support to protestors in the South, showing up recently at Occupy Houston.
Speaking with MTV News, Bun B explained why he decided to join his fellow Houstonites in the protest.
“I think it’s important that Bernard Freeman [his brith name] be here as a citizen of the world,” said Bun. “And I think it’s important that Bun B be here as a person of influence who has a voice that can bring attention to a cause. It’s very important that someone from the hip-hop community is out here supporting Occupy Houston, simply because of the fact of how hip-hop is represented in the world,” he added.
Though fans best know Bun as the Trill O.G. MC, he explained that he wanted people to see that rappers care about more than just money, but also the welfare of their communities and people.
“I think a lot of people look at us as being these flashy, fly types of people who are just concerned with spending money, but that’s not all of us,” he said. “That’s not what hip-hop is here to do. We have individuals that represent that, and I represented that from time to time, but that doesn’t make me who I am. I understand how real this world is and how real things can get and that’s what Occupy Houston is about. It’s not about what we do on the clock — it’s about being off the clock and supporting people who can’t even get on the clock right now.”
Bun B also dispelled misconceptions about his hometown’s need for economic change, explaining that Houston has its fair share of corporate corruption, namely the Enron scandal, as well as dispelling rumors about the movement protesters.
“The effects of the Enron collapse in Houston are still felt today,” Bun said. “Not everyone who had strong jobs in that sector were able to find replacements for those jobs. A lot of people had to take positions in companies to do things that they didn’t necessarily train for in order to support their families and that’s kinda what we’re standing for at Occupy Houston.
“The misconception about Occupy Houston is that it’s a bunch of jobless people who don’t wanna work and just want the rich to give them their money. Well, that’s not true. The majority of these people are educated — not just high school, but they’re college graduates, they have degrees, they’ve done what it takes to get into the workforce. Unfortunately, corporate America is not affording enough opportunities for people to go out get jobs and support their families. Instead of hiring more people, they’re firing more people just to keep the numbers up. A company that makes $3 billion a year, it’s still gonna function if they only make $2.8 billion a year in order to keep a couple people employed.”
According to Bun, the people of Occupy Houston are fighting not only corporate corruption, but also for better representation from their government.
“So that’s what we’re here fighting against, you know, corporate irresponsibility,” he said. “The fact that we in Houston and America — even though we’re the people that vote, we’re the people that pay our taxes — we don’t have the voice that we should have in our local state and federal governments, and that’s another stance that we’re taking.”
As always, it’s great to see members of the hip-hop community, a genre which has historically shared the triumphs and struggles of the common man, rise to the occasion in times of social need. –nicholas robinson