Rappers Dedicate Show to Armenian Genocide

Ekatrina Nikitina
Armenian rapper R-Mean dedicates concert to victims of the Armenian Genocide

Justin Mathay, Staff Writer

R-MeanEkaterina Nikitina

 

 

The crowd stood on their seats, holding up peace signs and waving lighters and cell phones as rapper Armin Hariri, more commonly known as R-Mean, and his crew musically commemorated the Armenian Genocide at an April 18 concert in Glendale.

“I am sharing the pain of my people, representing my people, and at the same time promoting unity,” R-Mean said in an interview after the event.

Pentagon Records presented R-Mean and his group of rappers, called the 2015 Armenian Emcee Cypher, at The Official Open Wounds 1915 Concert at Beyond the Stars Palace on Brand Boulevard.

A Glendale College alumnus, R-Mean, co-founded Pentagon Records and sparked a movement called “Open Wounds 1915.” His song, “Open Wounds,” aims to build awareness of the Armenian Genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire. 

The concert included other forms of self-expression. Apollo Poe read a poem that left him and audience members in tears. Maria Cozette sang a slow, soulful ballad honoring the Armenian Genocide centennial.

R-Mean said he hopes that many communities who have suffered in history can relate to the event and his message of unity. The song, “Open Wounds,” recognizes the Armenian Genocide and difference forms of injustice.

“It’s all about showing unity and it’s all about inspiring the next generation,” R-Mean said.

The artist said history has a tendency to repeat injustices.

“It’s an issue of crimes against humanity,” he said.

A major part of the movement is the distribution of T-shirts, hoodies and caps that say “Our Wounds Are Still Open” or “1915.” Hundreds of audience members wore the slogan on their clothes.

“Me being a hip-hop artist of Armenian descent, I really represent where I’m from,” R-Mean said. “It’s really a huge sense of hip-hop and fashion to spread the message for a good cause.”

The merchandise has been distributed across the world to Armenian and non-Armenian supporters of the movement.

“It’s an issue of showing people what happened and educating them. After all, change happens through education,” R-Mean said. “You need to educate people first and that’s why we do what we do. As [an artist], I am just trying to do my part by raising awareness and touching people’s lives in different ways. I feel that hip-hop is a really strong form of communication.”

Before his final song, R-Mean led the audience in a chant, shouting “On April 24th, I am marching for justice. Are you?!”

“The message is one love, the message is unity. Keep fighting for what’s real and what’s right,” R-Mean said. “We commemorate all the people we lost, but at the same time, we celebrate that we are still here and we are standing all together.”

R-Mean, KingQueen, a rock band, and Fire Tiger, a pop/rock band, will perform at the House of Blues Sunset Strip in West Hollywood at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.