What happens when you take Vancouver hip-hop artist Keliya and match her with young students of Burnaby Mountain Secondary School singing? The result is a culturally diverse music video about self-empowerment that represent their true selves.
Keliya’s new music video for her song, Take Us, has the students dressed in outfits that speaks to who they are culturally, whether that be from a Chinese or an Indian background, or Metis or First Nations or LGBTQ.
Keliya has been involved with activism for years, particularly on Indigenous issues in Canada.
When a lunch meeting was set up between Keliya and the school’s choir teacher, Deanna Gestrin. They knew they had a special connection. “It was just meant to be. It was magical”, Keliya said. Then they found out their parents had known each other a long time
Keliya says that when she was young, she never had an Indigenous mentor, hip-hop artist or singer to look up to.
“Nobody on TV or mainstream media looked like me … With these young people, I really felt like they got that opportunity to not only be in touch with somebody that they could relate to, but also be involved firsthand. That was so, so important to me,” she said.
Gestrin believes the choir’s experience with Keliya will influence them going forward.