Photojournalism requires the artist to use that third eye, the camera, to find a gem in an ordinary world. The focus is capturing images and shots to communicate with the world about those rare yet extraordinary stories. This camera provides a glimpse into a St. Louis gem, a story of a group of eleven extraordinary young men who impact and bring their community together with their gifts of music, singing, rapping, jazz, DJing, acting, and fashion. These young men have a story to tell, and their voices are their key to reaching hearts and the world.
GenZinius (generation Z and geniuses) is a group of young musicians from ages twelve to nineteen who look to make a change with their artistic expression. These young men are taking their voices and not just using them to influence positive community changes but to inspire young people to stand up, speak up using their voices to combat the challenges and problems of our communities and world. Their quest and ambitions are to collaborate with local aspiring artists around St. Louis, empowering them to expand their voices causing a movement within a city that longs for hope again. In a COVID arena and a time of uncertainty, they have been resilient, pulling together, working hard to put on their first concert in their local neighborhood and community of The West End. They applied for grants, made flyers, called friends and family, and used Instagram/social media as a platform to promote their vision. It takes the brave voices and relentlessness of a generation like this to change and shape the world around them for brighter future. (In the youtube video below, you will hear the voices of these young men. They will connect you to their vision, their community, and the city of St. Louis).
Huey Freeman, also known as “Rhadi RaRa Hrs” (left), is one of the founders of GenZinius. He is a fourteen-year-old rapper, artist, songwriter, leader, and a dream chaser. He doesn’t know what the future holds for him. Rhadi said, “I’m not sure if I’m going to college or not, especially if my music career takes off.” Freeman said, “I know that even though we are all different and coming from a not-so-popular city like St. Louis, coming together with one another using what was given to us to put on a great show for the people of our community is what we want to do.” Freeman also commends and honors his parents for having his back while pursuing his dreams as an inspirational rapper. He says, “I feel like parents need to let their kids pursue their dreams. You have to let them try, especially now when their parents protect their independence. This is the safest time to do that.” Freeman’s parents said, “This is about our youth having a voice; we want to make sure to support them because what they have to say is very important. They are the future.” Check out this song on Soundcloud of Rhadi RaRa Hrs. rapping.
Isaiah Taylor (middle) is a fourteen-year-old singer, artist, and co-founder of GenZinius. He aspires to go to college one day, but he also leaves that door to opportunity open to his desire to being a well-known singer one day. He hopes the city of St. Louis will join with GenZinius collaborating with other young artists recognizing the talent they all have. Isaiah has hope that this movement will be recognized and supported by the great city of the SLT. He wants the town of St. Louis to see that change is possible and that GenZinius can contribute to a better community and world. Isaiah believes and does not doubt in his mind that they all will be “LEGENDARY” one day!
Otha Aka Luh Habanero (right) is a fifteen-year-old trendsetting young man with many ambitions. He loves fashion, music, and sports. Otha aspires to impact and touch the world around him with his talents. His style and spunky attitude definitely have a bright future.
Josiah Burton (left), with dreads like Basquiat, is sixteen-year-old local St. Louis jazz musician, trumpet player, artist, and actor who aspires to touch the world with his skills of “blowing” the harmonies of sweet jazz. If his music doesn’t capture your ears, his smile and friendly humble approach definitely will. Please take the time to let him know what you think about his skills. Here is a little video to connect you to Josiah’s world. Such talent!
DJ KP da kid (middle) is a sixteen-year-old entrepreneur and local St. Louis DJ. He is a young man with the vision of a CEO. With the drive of a leader, he wants to use his talent as a DJ to influence and empower young and old in his city of St. Louis.
Liyoung Martin (right) is a sixteen-year-old musician. He wants to be a roboticist and stresses the importance of his education to reach obtain his dream. Liyoung also wants to collaborate with other young artists in the St. Louis to impact the community and world.
Here are several other artists, musicians, and amazing talent that rise to influencing, impacting, empowering, and inspire the vision of GenZinius to create a movement of kids making a change with their artistic expression. Check them out on their social media platforms.
GenZinius is that unknown gem in the heart of St. Louis operating in an ordinary world doing extraordinary things. They are a movement and generation of talented, goal-focused artists who aspire not just to have a bright future doing what they love but to impact a city and world with the change that influences every young artist seeking the goal of becoming great musician, rapper, artist, actor, and singer.
This article is dedicated to the parents of these amazing young men.
Media by Frances Trujillo.