Dead Rappers Society: Catching up with Ben Gregor in Toronto [Interview]
Toronto, ON - Last week, Toronto’s evening commuters may have witnessed an unexpected hip-hop video being filmed by the railroad tracks in the city’s West End. Toronto rapper Davee Jonez was performing his track “Bettering” for an upcoming video that was created and directed by the Dead Rappers Society.
Dead Rappers Society is an organization that helps at-risk young people express themselves through song-writing and music videos. DRS was founded by Ben Gregor and Geoffrey Okol, and works in conjunction with youth centres in the UK, South Africa, Canada and the US. DRS is helping great people make great films within their own communities. Three new videos will be premiered at the official launch of the scheme in March 2014.
“Hip-hop is smart. The kids are amazing. The world will see.” – Dead Rappers Society
In Toronto, DRS has been working with sketch.ca. Sketch is a community arts development initiative that engages young people, the homeless and those who are at-risk. “It’s awesome to be doing a DRS shoot here in Toronto, and Sketch are great people who do amazing work,” said Gregor, adding that he was really impressed with T-dot’s young Davee Jonez. “The snow and cold is a great contrast to our last video,” he said. Three weeks prior, Gregor and the DRS crew were in a township near Cape Town in South Africa, working with the kids of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre. “All over the world there are amazing kids with stories to tell,” he said. “We just help those stories be heard.”
You may already be familiar with Ben Gregor. He is the filmmaker behind the European hit street dance movie, All Stars, which was released last year. “DRS is my way of giving back to hip-hop, and it’s becoming the love of my life,” he said. “I can’t wait for people to see what we have made here at the launch of the scheme next month.” You can find images from Gregor’s different DRS shoots and details on how to check the videos from London, Cape Town and Los Angeles at yesdrs.com.