Netta B, who calls herself an urban pop songstress (and who was known as Netta Brielle while growing up in Berkeley) filmed a music video on Wednesday in an area of Berkeley that has seen a lot of violence.
Brielle and her film crew spent part of the day at the intersection of Sacramento and Oregon Streets, just a block away from where Gary Ferguson Jr. was gunned down on Oct. 26 and a few blocks from where 14-year-old Malik Grayson was shot Oct. 30.
Berkeleysider Jenne King saw Netta B and her entourage and asked why they were in that neighborhood. Netta B apparently said she wanted to return to her home turf to shoot a video to show that violence is not the only news in South Berkeley. Young people are banding together to be positive and make a difference, she said.
“Good things happen at this corner too,” said one of Netta B’s entourage, according to King.
Netta B is no stranger to violence. When she was a student studying musical theater at San Jose State University, her younger sister was gunned down and killed.
Netta B grew up in the East Bay and decided at the age of 5 that she wanted to be a performer. As a child rapper, she appeared on stage at the Oakland Coliseum with MC Hammer and in the studio with Tupac Shakur. She developed her own style, which she calls urban pop, and which combines hip-hop, R&B, jazz, and ’80s new wave.
In 2008, Netta B won the “The Def Jam Mega Star Search,” put together by Shakir Stewart, of Def Jam Records.
“With a slew of blazing tunes like “Music,” “I’m Alive,” and “Gimme a Mic,” and farenheit-raising tracks from Erk Da Jerk and Traxamillion, she appears ready to take on Ashanti, Beyonce, and Trina all at once,” Eric Arnold wrote in the SF Weekly.
Netta B kept her fans up to date on the video’s progress – and her reaction to Berkeley – through Twitter.
“Thinking about shooting a video in my hometown. Riding around checking out locations…,” she wrote on Oct. 30.
“Can someone bring me some tea and some sort of apple Danish to Berkeley? Thx,” she wrote the morning of Nov. 10.
“Shooting my video in Berkeley, and my high school bully just drove by…hehehe*” she wrote later in the day.
Netta B’s new mixtape Love, Pain, & Music, will be released this month. Listen to the song Electric Luv here.