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Nashville High School Junior Queen McElrath Records Rap Video- Hands Up Don't Shoot

Jeanne Meyers For Immediate Release
Co-founder/Director The MY HERO Project
Hands Up


LOS ANGELES, CA – 12/08/14 - Queen McElrath and Aniea Cody, two high school students from Nashville, Tennessee are the winners of the Student Mentor category at the MY HERO International Film Festival.  The festival showcases hero themed films made by filmmakers from student through professional levels.  The awards ceremony took place November 22, 2014, at the Herb Alpert Educational Village in Santa Monica.  

Both McElrath and Cody are juniors at the Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School in North Nashville.  McElrath, a young rapper, was deeply saddened by the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed, 18-year-old black man who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last August.  She wanted to help young people feel empowered.  Her response was to write the lyrics to a rap music video, “Hands Up, Don't Shoot.”

Nashville Students Accepting their Student Mentor Award at the MY HERO International Film Fest

She enlisted the help of her school mentor Todd Young, who got McElrath's classmate Cody on board to produce and direct the short video.  With the help of other students, they were able to shoot and edited the short video in only four days.  The video went viral, catching the attention of people around the world and winning a first place award at the festival.  

The film was also a finalist in the Ron Kovic Peace Award competition at the festival.  Kovic is a former U.S. Marine whose second tour of Vietnam in the 1960s left him paralyzed from the chest down.  For the past 40 years, Kovic has been an advocate for peace.  Each year, he offers a cash prize to the short film that addresses the subject of Peace in a powerful way.  At the Awards Ceremony, Kovic congratulated the student filmmakers for their successful project.

Former Marine Turned Peacemaker Ron Kovic Honors Nashville Students Queen McElrath and Aniea Cody for their Efforts Toward Peace

The MY HERO International Film Festival is part of the award winning The MY HERO Project, (www.myhero.com) a non-profit [501(c)3]  program dedicated to sharing and archiving hero themed stories, videos, music and art from around the world.  All of the winning videos are free to view and available online at www.myhero.com/films. 

McElrath, Cody and Young flew to Los Angeles to attend the awards ceremony and to accept their award.  For the girls, it was their first time visiting California and the first time seeing the ocean.  McElrath says she plans to create more rap songs.  She wants to incorporate positive messages into the powerful medium of rap, to create a powerful outlet for people to use to tell their stories and speak their minds.

Last changed on: 12/9/2014

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