Hip Hop Artist Uses Music To Inspire Youth
A Yakima hip hop artist is using music to deliver a positive message to teens throughout the valley.
He is 27 year old Omari Baines, AKA Gem Starks.
Baines was raised in Yakima most of his life, and went to college in Portland.
When he returned to his hometown a few years ago, he found nothing had changed.
"When coming back here, I saw that it was still the same recurring lifestyle within Yakima, or the way of growing up within Yakima," said Baines, "The last time I've looked, we've seen Yakima still on a high level of violence and/or murders per capita."
When Baines isn't working his day job at a Subway, he can be found locked in a soundproof booth recording music, under the stage name Gem Starks.
Baines has performed in various venues from Yakima all the way down to Southern California; in his music he asks people, especially youth, to take a hard look at their lives and pursue a life of fulfilment, rather than the drugs and violence he grew up around.
One of Baine's first videos, "Do Me," was released in October, and has received almost 4 thousand views on YouTube since then, and atttracted fans who say the message in his music has changed their lives for the better."
"It's just pretty inspiring because you know, i grew up in the ghetto," said 17-year-old Herbert Sosa, "I try to stay away from that, and he's told us to. We meet up with him a couple times at the gym while we're dancing and he's working out. He tells us to stay from that stuff."
"I hope his career takes off, but at the same time i hope he doesn't forget where he came from and how he helped us," said 18-year-old Ignacio Valdovinos.
Omari Baines says he plans to eventually spread his message across the nation, using the young people as the inspiration for his lyrics.
"You see artists and the impact that they have on the youth; grab the mind of the youth, and from there, definitely help that mind progress if you can," said Baines, "That's what we're going to try and do; we're going to try to grab as many young and youthful people like right now. "