‘White Rapper’ star to return to Austin

Published 10:41 am Friday, October 31, 2008

Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, local work to build communities rooted in social, economic, and racial justice will continue. Jeb Middlebrook, aka “Jus Rhyme,” an Austin native and a member of the rap group AntiRacist 15 (propelled to national notoriety by Vh1’s “White Rapper Show”) will be part of that work in his hometown of Austin.

Middlebrook, along with the staff of Austin’s Welcome Center, a local organization focused on bringing together immigrants/new residents and long-time residents of the state, will host a free post-election gathering on Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Coffee House on Main. The event will be held in tandem with Middlebrook’s signing of pre-release copies of AntiRacist 15’s new album, “Stand in Solidarity.”

“We hope to create a safe space for people to meet one another and dialogue about the economy, race, culture and the future of this country, and what people can do on a local level to build positive communities,” Middlebrook said.

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“The Nov. 6 event will be the first in a series of community gatherings hosted by the Welcome Center that will bring people together — immigrants/new residents and long time residents, young and old — to share experiences, build knowledge and build relationships that promote acceptance and tolerance,” said Liliana Silvestry, executive director of the Welcome Center.

“The Welcome Center is a key institution in Austin,” Middlebrook said. “Their work represents much of what the presidential candidates have discussed this fall about the need to bridge old divisions and create communities that embrace and celebrate the diversity of thought and background that makes America unique.”

“I am proud and honored to have AntiRacist 15 as partners in this event,” Silvestry said. “The work they do in regards to racial justice is exciting and admirable. We definitely need more real, open-minded people like them if we want to live in healthier and more vital communities.”

This is the second time Middlebrook has partnered with the Welcome Center. AntiRacist 15 was one of the headlining acts for the center’s Cultural Heritage Festival in 2007.

AntiRacist 15’s debut album, “Stand in Solidarity,” is a musical documentation of Middlebrook’s and his rap partner, Trevor Wysling’s, (”Raw Potential”) long-standing artistic and activist work for racial justice, and represents the first release in hip-hop history by an explicitly white anti-racist group.

“We have built a national fan base by connecting with local communities in real ways,” Middlebrook said. “People are ready to get real about race and politics, and have fun at the same time. Music and conversation can be that bridge.”

“Stand in Solidarity” by AntiRacist 15 will be released to the general public Dec. 16 on iTunes and Amazon.com.