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Marquis Julien, hip-hop artist from Nyack, debuts music video raising awareness for disabled
Being disabled doesn’t mean you’re not “abled."
That's the message 26-year-old Nyack-based hip-hop artist Marquis Julien (who drops the 's' in his first name when performing) is trying to send in his recently released music video. In a departure from typical hip-hop anthems, Julien is using his musical platform to raise awareness about potential budget cuts for the disabled, including his brother, Mariano Julien, 22, who makes a cameo via webcam.
Originally released in March, his song “I AM #ABLED” subs the “dis” prefix so many of the developmentally challenged are accustomed to for a Twitter hashtag. The music video, uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, made use of the talents of many local disabled residents, adding visuals to the tune’s audio message.
“I wrote this song for my brother,” the song opens, adding “and anyone who has ever been stigmatized” before launching into the chorus: “I am abled / No dis.”
Mariano has autism and lives in Los Angeles, where Julien lived before moving to Nyack, where he got married on the steps of Town Hall during the post-superstorm Sandy power outage.
"(The song) came mostly from my brother, but in wake of the proposed budget cuts I wanted to do something personal to keep the motivation going after the [Rally in the Valley] ended, to create a snowball effect."
Rally in the Valley for Disabled was a 600-person protest of budget cuts that affected New York's disabled community.
In March, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo cut funding to all of the state's Office for People With Developmental Disabilities agencies by 4.5 percent, totaling $180 million. Sen. David Carlucci, who chairs the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, fought Cuomo's initial call for 6 percent cuts and has remained steadfast that he will find a way to fully restore the slashed funds. Carlucci announced Thursday that he was able to find $90 million in savings by implementing new cost-cutting procedures like consolidation.
The song supports the Jawonio Advocacy Group, which “advocates for those who can’t advocate for themselves” and is part of Jawonio, a New City-based organization serving those with special needs.
Julien's earlier song "I Love Nyack" also featured people with developmental disabilities.
Tags: Rockland County