Student led music video stirs controversy online, students react

Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 10:16 PM EDT
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SUMTER, S.C. (WIS) - A student-filmed music video meant to motivate students is causing some controversy online.

According to parents at Lakewood High School in Sumter, the video was played at school which some feel is inappropriate.

The video features students from multiple Sumter schools rapping about the importance of going to college.

Some students at Lakewood High School were in the video and say while they’re concerned about the backlash it’s receiving, they still believe the message is one that needs to be heard.

The video was shot at Claflin University this summer during the Gear Up program.

Gear Up is a grant-based program with a mission to prepare students for college.

“We made the video as Gear Up, for Gear Up. They’ve done so much for us since the seventh grade,” said Quindon Dais.

Quindon Dais is a senior at Lakewood High School.

He participated in the Gear Up program and also took part in the music video as well.

“We’ve taken college trips,” said Dais “We did the college experience at Claflin. They’ve bought us school supplies when we don’t have them. They’ve given us so many options, college fairs....” he added.

Students can also receive scholarships for being a part of the program.

Quindon says the video was meant to inspire kids to want to pursue higher education.

The song begins with a spoken word addressing what the students describe as disparities black people face.

But WIS has received comments from parents stating their displeasure with the video.

One parent called it racially insensitive and inappropriate.

WIS showed the comments to a parent of another student featured in the video.

“It devastated me,” said parent, Cheryl Moye.

Cheryl Moye says people are overlooking the message behind the video.

“They were actually trying to meet their peers where they are and reach them in a form they would relate to. They were by no means trying to offend anyone and I can tell you they were not expecting this,’ said Moye.

Another parent wrote his daughter was forced to watch the video in order to get her student ID.

WIS reached out to the district about the allegation.

Officials said that is not true and students were issued student IDs last Thursday.

The principal at Lakewood High School issued an apology on the school’s Facebook page for anyone who felt that the video lacked representation, but Quindon says every student was given the opportunity to participate in the program.

Gear Up also gave away 1 million dollars in scholarships to students in the Sumter School District.

View Quindon’s full interview below:

WIS' Ashley Jones interviewed Lakewood High School student Quindon Dais to talk about the controversy over the Gear Up video.

WIS also interviewed another student from Sumter High School that was featured in the video:

WIS' Ashley Jones interviewed Sumter High School student Journey Wright to talk about the controversy over the Gear Up video.

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