Oakland, CA—The music video release of Grammy-nominated artist RyanNicole’s “Small but Mighty” is the result of an innovative collaboration between two Bay Area nonprofits. SF Baykeeper, the Oakland-based non-profit legal watchdog organization that confronts corporate polluters, and the Oakland-based social justice–infused arts education org Hip Hop for Change, Inc (HH4C). The two orgs have successfully synergized their seemingly different missions to produce an upbeat musical anthem. In the wake of polluting events like the recent fire at the Schnitzer Steel plant in West Oakland, “Small but Mighty” provides a powerful call to action to Bay Area communities young and old. It serves as a testament to our collective power while encouraging and empowering us to protect our local waters from the pollution caused by corporations.
For the last 50 years of Hip Hop, social commentary and community have served as an integral part of the message and movement, remixing and shifting our pop culture paradigms, making inroads into business, education, and even the environmental movement. In the Bay Area particularly, Hip Hop has always danced between the worlds of entertainment and activism. The home of funk music, the Black Panther Party, and hippy counter culture has historically been a hotbed for innovation in both music and social change.
And now, Oakland-based artist and activist RyanNicole’s latest music video is a small but mighty contribution to this ongoing legacy of Hip Hop activism.
RyanNicole’s rhymes flow seamlessly over the beat, brilliantly combining bravado and inspiration. “Small but Mighty is to me a reminder to the people of their power. We are privileged to live in a purportedly democratic nation. I still believe the greatest weapon against injustice is the collective will & action of the people.” The track is produced by New York born but Bay Area based Rapper, producerd and HH4C Education Director Marlon Richardson, better known in Hip Hop circles as UnLearn The World. Borrowing from a wide range of musical soundscapes, from Beyoncé dance records, Brooklyn Drill basslines and Hyphy-era melodic loops, SBM could just as easily be played at a protest rally as it could at a house party.
“This project meant a lot to me personally” says Sejal Choksi-Chugh, Executive Director of SF Baykeeper. “I listened to Hip Hop growing up and the lyrics were often pointless, violent, and misogynistic. So it’s really powerful to partner with a visionary like RyanNicole, who sings truth to power through her words that inspire people to act.”
In Sejal’s words, “RyanNicole’s new song has the power to unite our diverse Bay Area communities around a single cause: to fight the corporate polluters that are hurting us. I hope the catchy song and clever lyrics can spread her message of activism far and wide. Individually, we’re small, but if we act together, we’ll be a mighty force to take down the polluters and make the Bay Area healthier for everyone.” Please call 1-800-KEEP-BAY or visit baykeeper.org to report water pollution around the San Francisco Bay Area.