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Suicide Letter music video strikes chord

Posted at 5:34 PM, Feb 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-28 19:47:21-05

Some Idaho lawmakers are leading an effort to help combat suicide rates by providing a financial boost for the Gem state's suicide prevention hotline.

While funding for the bill awaits approval, a group of local hip-hop artists are getting people's attention with a newly released music video.

Suicide is not a topic most of us expect to be brought up at a live, hip-hop performance. However, it's one thatCornell Johnson felt compelled to put in the spotlight based on his own struggles in the past and because of his work with area teenagers at Boise Park & Recreation's Teen Center.

Johnson, a.k.a. "Zero," collaborated with fellow artists "Axiom Tha Wyze," Jordan Yokum, and Natalie Grace.

In the video, Johnson contemplates suicide and embodies the loneliness that has the potential to consume your soul.

Johnson says in his lyrics: "If I express how I feel, they label me insane."

The artists' message is that you're not alone in having thoughts of ending your life.

"Keep trying, you can't give up," Johnson says. "If I gave up, I wouldn't be here."

Johnson says it's easier than one might think to reach out and talk to someone about the sensitive subject.

Yokum expresses a different tone in his section of the song saying: "'Don't be selfish. I know the feeling, these words are hard to say but I know you need to hear them. Look the devil in the eye and say, 'Not this spirit.'"

The hope is to spark an ongoing dialogue, one that saves lives.

"I'm hoping this video can give the silent ones a little bit of direction to say, 'Maybe, I don't have to be quiet anymore,'" Johnson says.

Little did the group of artists and producers know how far reaching of an affect the video would have.

Whether a series of unfortunate events or a life-altering change has you down, they encourage anyone who is in a dark spot to seek help.

"We know it's not a popular topic and not what you typically see at a hip-hop show but the whole point of this is to reach out," Yokum says. "We want you to reach out and say something because it's the most dangerous thing in the world when you're going through it and no one knows."

You can find the song on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwSdW7J6otE. They also have a version posted on YouTube that has commentary and information on local resources.

Idaho's suicide prevention hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK.