Photos and Video: Billy Blue, Mecca a.k.a. Grimo, and Grindmode at the TPS for Haitians Rally, September 19

Jacob Katel
Mecca aka Grimo flanked by Betty Jean and Jessica Donette, regional co-directors of the United Haitian Students of Florida

Friday's rally and vigil for TPS (temporary protected status) for Haitians in the USA at Virginia Key Beach Park was a sparsely peopled, but powerful affair. (Quick side note: The historic beach is now in danger, as the trust that operates it risks having its funding cut by the City of Miami budget axe.) 

Miami based rappers Billy Blue from Poe Boy Records, Mecca aka Grimo from Sak Pasé Records, and 2/3's of independent hitmakers Grind Mode rallied alongside a small cadre of dedicated activists, organizers, students, poets, musicians, and community members.

Check out our exclusive video of Billy Blue talking about his life. In it, he discusses how he got locked up for five years as a young kid, got sent to Haiti by his father when he was released, and there witnessed poverty, death, hunger, and revolt all around him. The video and plenty of photos are after the jump. 

Billy Blue - North Miami Zoe
A Stand Up Dude
Mecca aka Grimo walking up onto the stage.

Longtime local Hip Hop impresario and former Luke Records affiliate Mecca aka Grimo has logged hundreds of hours of on stage as a musician, motivational speaker, and star of stage and screen. Here we see performance highlights from one of his spoken word pieces, "Boat People."

Buggah Da Govanah with Stage McKlezie of Grind Mode.
Grind Mode, the group most well known for its radio smash "I'm So High," showed support through their presence and speeching, and mini performance.
Hunger, and Mcklezie of Grind Mode and an affiliate watch the stage from the sidelines.
Letter to Obama.
Repping the cannons and bayonets.

Are you Immigrant America?
Local politcal contender Marlene Bastien, vyying for Kendrick Meek's seat, stopped by to lend a few words of support and to encourage artists and youth of all race, creeds, and classes to step up to the plate for immigrant rights.

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Esther sang the American and Haitian national anthems and a church song.
Volunteers who circulated petitions to Obama among the crowd and participants.
Spoken Word artist Haiti Blues before his performance, RaRa Rock on his left with guitar.
RaRa Rock and Empress Addi of the Organic Roots Movement to preserve culture through music and the arts perform a song.
WSVN Channel 7 was there to capture the action.
The stakes are high.
Act now.
Virginia Key Beach Park.
Candle light vigil.
Can I get a witness?

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