DC Hip-Hop Artist Makes Music to Stop Persecution in China

Transcript

He’s been a hip-hop artist since high-school.

[Jamil Lawrance AKA Rise-Ascend, Rapper, Falun Gong Practitioner]:
“I’ve done a lot of, a significant amount of albums…and we developed a following.”

And in 2009, attorney and part time rapper, Jamil Lawrance would embark on a path that would change him, and his music, forever.

[Jamil Lawrance AKA Rise-Ascend, Rapper, Falun Gong Practitioner]:
“I practice Falun Dafa. Falun Dafa, it’s an ancient Chinese meditation practice that was passed down from disciple to disciple and then it was introduced to the public in 1992 and millions of people practice Falun Dafa. It’s based on truthfulness, compassion and forbearance, and it has five meditative exercises.”

Falun Dafa took root in Jamil’s life.

[Jamil Lawrance AKA Rise-Ascend, Rapper, Falun Gong Practitioner]:
“The teachings just touch me so profoundly that I realized that this is definitely something that I wanted to practice.”

And changed his character.

[Jamil Lawrance AKA Rise-Ascend, Rapper, Falun Gong Practitioner]:
“It’s made me a less selfish person, it’s made me think of others in all that I do and it’s made me a more compassionate person.”

Yet, a conflict quickly emerged.

[Jamil Lawrance AKA Rise-Ascend, Rapper, Falun Gong Practitioner]:
“There is some hip-hop music out there that’s pretty detrimental and pretty negative, and I wanted to make sure that in no way was I a part of that.”

But when Jamil learned that the practice he loved was subject to persecution in Mainland China…

[Jamil Lawrance AKA Rise-Ascend, Rapper, Falun Gong Practitioner]:
“Over 3000 people have been murdered and that’s just the known deaths.”

…it shook him to the core.

[Jamil Lawrance AKA Rise-Ascend, Rapper, Falun Gong Practitioner]:
‘When I found out that the Chinese government actually does organ harvesting, they actually take the organs of living practitioners and they actually sell those organs on the black market, that’s something that is appalling to the highest degree. Human beings are generally good people, and if you tell them that this type of thing is going on they will not stand for that, and no matter where this is taking place in the world they’re going to stand up and say this has to end.”

So Jamil got back in the studio. Adopting the name Rise-Ascend, he dedicated his music to raising awareness about the persecution, and spreading positive messages about Falun Gong.

[TYNZ Hampton, Chief Engineer, District Entertainment Studios]:
“It’s always a little bit different working with Jamil, the reason is that a lot of people come in, they’re doing material that they semi-believe in, they semi-understand what they are talking about. When he comes in, it’s straight to the point, he knows exactly what he wants, he believes in what he’s saying, and it’s a little bit different than working with a lot of other artists.”

Jamil promoted his new album through hip-hop websites and on social networks.

That’s when Kristian Karlgren, a Swedish Falun Gong practitioner living in Spain, spotted him on Facebook.

[Kristian Karlgren AKA Direction, Falun Gong Practitioner, Producer]:
“I sent him an email telling him I’m so inspired by everything he does, and I produce music, hip-hop music and if he wants to collaborate, that would be awesome.”

[Jamil Lawrance AKA Rise-Ascend, Rapper, Falun Gong Practitioner]:
“I said, why don’t you send me a few tracks? And after hearing his tracks, I could see that we could make some good powerful music together.”

Within a month, and despite being separated by the Atlantic Ocean, the pair finished a whole album.

The song, “Lin’s Story” is a true account of a Chinese family torn apart by the persecution.

[Jamil Lawrance AKA Rise-Ascend, Rapper, Falun Gong Practitioner]:
“A lot of people have families, and when you hear about a family that’s torn apart by something as vicious as this persecution you know, you can’t help to have some kind of feeling about it and be moved by it.”

Now the pair have just released a new EP called “Behind the Wall.” Carrying the same message.

(Music of Behind the Wall)

And they are succeeding in spreading this message in the west, and to hip-hop fans in Mainland China via the internet.

[Kristian Karlgren AKA Direction, Falun Gong Practitioner, Producer];
“Falun Gong means so much to me personally, and if I can inspire people and if I can make people aware of the persecution then I’ve basically made my point.”

Jamil says his music now represents the path he has travelled and how Falun Gong has changed him.

[Jamil Lawrance AKA Rise-Ascend, Rapper, Falun Gong Practitioner];
“it’s not about making money, its not about fame, it’s about sharing something that’s very beautiful, sharing something that has helped me become a better person, and informing people about the vicious persecution that’s taking place in China.”

Whatever this path holds, Jamil is dedicated to continue spreading his message to the world.

Original interview with NTD Television, posted on their YouTube channel

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