It was a fine Friday afternoon as Gibbor Green and students at the Overtown Youth Center debuted the national release of his Crush video — “a masterpiece,” according to his publicity, “that brings rhythm and chivalry back to teen music in an atmosphere that promotes education and learning.” Even more encouraging is that Crush was filmed and produced as part of a summer project with OYC students. It gave them the opportunity to participate in a music project that reportedly will be viewed by millions on television, the Internet and the Gibbor Green official app available on iTunes.
As I approached the center, honorary Green Team member Britney Logan, 13, a Miami Arts Charter eigth grader, was waiting with a pal for the screening. She broke into acting during school castings at the end of seventh grade. Logan also is a dancer and likes math.
Green, also 13, and aww que lindo (so cool) in his throwback hi-top fade, is styled in a Polo light winter vest with Italian flag on the back and Army brat dog tags.
Miami singer Gibbor (sounds like an island name), the second youngest of seven coming from a family of singers, has been crooning since he was two. He has since traveled extensively in the James Brown Review, performing Brown’s, Sam Cooke’s and Michael Jackson’s hits. He wants to work with Janelle Monae, the James Brown/Sam Cooke wannabe. Interestingly he wants to work with Aretha Franklin, and of course Justin B. and the Karate Smith Kid. Heat basketball, football, WFC Wrestling and even tennis interest him.
Halloween is approaching and Green has some treats for his cool “classroomates.’’ With the VIP seats marked, the second- and third-grade after-schoolers in shells, braids, locks, beads, relaxers, twists and low cuts, from The Gibson Charter, Fredrick
Douglas Elementary, Downtown Charter, Florida International Academy and other schools took floor seats, waving shadow hands into the projector’s screen, guided by quaint disciplinarian minders calling out to “Jamal, Jordan, Precious.”
Over the summer Gibbor was here, prior to having these youth wear his sleepy eyed, dipping sunglasses and his Crush buttons. Amid the smells of bubblegum and body odor, a short intro video begins with an acapella prelude commercial featuring the Port of Miami. We learn that this short chef can cook spaghetti and eggs — maybe his take on egg noodles? Now he’s dressed in suspenders, nice brown full-rimmed hat, Sinatra styled. Next he’s on a three-wheeler bike.
Soon, Tina Brown, the new OYC director also born and raised in Overtown, is calling Gibbor the best of the best. She advises students of other industry hats they can wear if they haven’t been performing since eight nor have 8,000 Facebook fans, 1,000 on Twitter: they can choose producer, dancer, lighting crew or the other 20 to 100 people it takes to make a video.
We are asked, “Do we or have we had a crush on an existing object of affection?” At 38, I’m jaded. As a dozen hands spring up for their crushes, I’d like an orange.
The video premiere begins, palm trees above, direction by Maicol Diaz. “I think she likes me!” — a familiar lyric used by another artist. He’s embarrassed by his teacher reading his note out loud. So he must breakdance his pain away in racecar gear, eyes wide.
Sitting on the steps writing in his comp book (I hope he’s doing homework), with crumbled littering of balled-up paper. The video ends in reverse like Erykha Badu’s Window Seat, but he’s of course clothed.
After a sneak preview of his next vid, more Q & A: A young man named Shawn asked, “How does it feel to be famous?” Green youthfully answers, “It feels cool to have people look up to you.”
Let’s get involved with this son of Overtown and watch his career entertain, inform and make useful his life and community work. Coming soon to a radio or Internet station near you.
On the web:
Zarifa M. El is a writer, poet and teacher who lives in North Miami Beach.
Photo: Zarifa M. El for South Florida Times
Overtown Youth Center: Tina Brown, center director, is happy with the debut. Students from OYC took part in the video as part of their summer activities, and have anxiously waited to forward Crush to family and friends.