Black Lives Matter

Black Violin: “We Studied Classical, But We Lived Hip-Hop”

Kev Marcus (Kevin Sylvester) and Wil B. (Wilner Baptiste) are some of the hottest names in classical music today. They’ve also made a splash in hip-hop circles for their work, which makes them a pretty unlikely success story.

Together they form Black Violin, a hip-hop, classically influenced violin and viola duo.

This talented pair creates a unique and genuine sound that is redefining current and past musical genres and it all started at a South Florida high school, where the two met years ago.

Their music was formed from a blend of their classical training and musical taste in hip-hop.

“We didn’t try to do this, and that is why it works- we were it,” Kev Marcus said in an interview with RISE NEWS.

Their sound incorporates qualities of both genres into one, eloquent blend. It is a sound unlike any other that identifies the similar chord structures between the two genres, while also illuminating the tonal differences.

WATCH: Black Violin’s “Stereotypes”

“Classical is pure, naked, and vulnerable,”Kev Marcus said. “There is a fragility to it that mirrors hip hop’s rigid feel.”

Black Violin creates a sound that challenges people’s perceptions, and inspires others to think outside the box.

They also are not afraid to take a stand on issues impacting people’s lives.

“When coming up with the music we weren’t thinking about how as black men we can change people’s perceptions, it was just a natural reaction for us,” Kev Marcus said.


Kev Marcus (Kevin Sylvester) and Wil B. (Wilner Baptiste) make up Black Violin. Photo Credit: Black Violin/ Facebook

He said their goal is to break down stereotypes that keep people from expressing themselves and creating something new and innovative.

Their music always comes first, but social activism and influence emanates from their sound, their image, and the way their music relates to a universal crowd.

“Stereotypes” is one of Black Violin’s most popular songs, and it features Kev Marcus’s three daughters, wife, and mother.

As musicians, Black Violin is genuine and groundbreaking; but the emotion behind their sound is a powerful quality of their music.

Kev Marcus described that their intention is to convey emotion in what they play.

“I want you to feel invigorated, inspired, happy, and so on,” Kev Marcus said.

Black Violin’s music does just that and more.

Listen: Black Violin’s “Shaker” 

Their sound is relatable for people of all backgrounds and ages, and represents timeless qualities of music in a revolutionary way.

Black Violin demonstrates how musical genres can be transformed and redefined to create insightful expressions of emotion and tone.

If hip-hop is raw and rugged, and classical is naked and vulnerable, their music allows their listeners to find catharsis in the balanced blend of the two sensations.

Black Violin is about to go on a tour of Europe. For more info, you can visit their website:

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Black Violin/ Youtube (Screengrab)

White People: Beyoncé’s “Formation” Is Not For Us. Get Over It

By Kelsey D’Auben

A few weeks back, Beyoncé appeared at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show alongside Bruno Mars and Coldplay.

She performed her latest single “Formation,” which dropped the day before.

Her halftime performance was accompanied by a group of all-black back-up dancers wearing costumes, which appeared to be replica Black Panther’s uniforms of the 1960s as a tribute for Black History Month.

These dancers costumes and the Black Lives Matter inspired “Formation” music video sparked outrage, even forming it’s own #BoycottBeyoncé hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.

“I thought it was really outrageous that she used it (the halftime show) as a platform to attack police officers,” Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on Fox & Friends.  “Who are the people who protect her and protect us and keep us alive.”

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A scene from the “Formation” music video.

Giuliani is not alone in believing that Beyoncé went too far in her performance.

Some claim that Beyoncé paying tribute to the Black Panthers on stage that night was “racist” and use the argument that what she did was the equivalent of a white performer on stage with back-up dancers dressed as KKK members.

However, these (mostly) white critics fail to even try to understand the most important part of “Formation”; that it’s not about us as white people.

First and foremost, the Black Panthers are not the black Equivalent to the KKK.

The Black Panther Party was formed in 1966 as an active response to institutionalized racism and police violent against the black community.

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They were created to monitor and challenge police brutality, as well as create more opportunities for the black community by instituting community social programs. The Klu Klux Klan is a white supremacy group, which still exists even today, that openly committed acts of violence and terror against minority groups in America.

Although the Black Panthers did have a much different set of ideals when it came to how to handle protesting their oppression and were known to be much less peaceful than those such as Martin Luther King Jr., the Black Panthers and the KKK are not even remotely similar groups.

That being said, the entire premise of “Formation” is about the experience of being a black woman in America and being empowered and proud of their culture and heritage.

The video is set in Louisiana and has been inspired by the “Black Lives Matter” movement. It shows beautiful images of life and culture in the black community there.

One of the most powerful images, which coincidentally sparked the most controversy, is of a small black boy dancing before a line of white police officers who hold their hands up in surrender to the boy. This is then closely followed by an image of wall graffiti, which reads “Stop Shooting Us.”

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Many people are angry over the video because of these images. They claim that the video portrays police officers, and in general all white-people, in a bad light because the only white people in the entire video were these police officers.

This song and video are about being black and we, as white people, have no say in how that experience is felt or how they tell their own stories. Because they aren’t about us.

Instead of getting offended at this image and trying to defend ourselves as “good guys” by arguing that “not all cops” or “not all white people” we, as a group, need to stop talking, take a step back, and listen to what is trying to be said.

Take this opportunity as a chance to listen and learn, instead of getting defensive and making their stories about us.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Beyoncé/ Youtube (Screengrab)

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Black Lives Matter Removed From Trump Rally In Alabama


A supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement was forced out of a Donald Trump rally in Birmingham, AL earlier today.

A Rise News reporter was on the ground and took video of the incident.

Jordan Cissell, our reporter relayed what he saw as he was watching the rally from the crowd:

“About ten feet behind me a scrum broke out in the crowd. The guy was shouting black lives matter and working his way through the crowd. A wall of people turned and started pushing against him. Then this group moved down like somebody had been shoved to the ground. Them the cops and security came and escorted him out. The BLM guy seemed wild eyed, then he started shouting fuck Trump as they walked him out.”

WATCH: BlackLivesMatter supporter removed from Trump rally in Alabama.

Many in the crowd told the man to calm down and told him that all lives mattered.

Trump said to throw the man out and made fun of news reporters for turning to film him.

Stay with Rise News. More exclusive video to come shortly. 

WATCH: BlackLivesMatter supporter removed from Trump rally in Alabama.

New York Police Chief Apologizes To James Blake

By Allyn Farach

Retired tennis star James Blake claimed that he was tackled outside of a Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York this week by a plainclothes officer.

Blake told other media outlets that he was acting nonviolently but was met with violence from officers after a sting operation mistakenly took Blake as a suspect.

“You’d think they could say, ‘Hey, we want to talk to you. We are looking into something. I was just standing there. I wasn’t running. It’s not even close (to be okay). It’s blatantly unnecessary. You would think at some point they would get the memo that this isn’t okay, but it seems that there’s no stopping it,” Blake told the New York Daily News.

Blake further claims that he was released when a former officer recognized him and told the police who Blake was.

The situation has been embarrassing to the NYPD and its leadership.

“I spoke to Mr. Blake a short time ago and personally apologized for yesterday’s incident. Mr. Blake indicated he would be willing to meet with the Internal Affairs Bureau as our investigation continues,” NYPD Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said in a press release. “Additionally, he said he would be returning the Mayor’s earlier phone call to speak to him. Mr. Blake said he would like to meet with the Mayor and me at a future date, which we would be agreeable to.”

New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio has signaled his intention to talk to Blake about the matter.

It is unclear what role Blake’s arrest will have in the continued evolution of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Photo Credit: Josué Goge/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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