Hip hop artist Big Reeno implores listeners to “don’t forget Minot” in his new video “The Forgotten Disaster.”
The single was released in June, but this week, the Fargo-area performer unveiled a new video that shows scenes of devastation during the flood.
When downloaded from iTunes, proceeds from the single will benefit Hope Village’s efforts toward rebuilding Minot.
“Water hit three feet high/over previous records/homes washed away in a few seconds/Can you imagine the horror or the fear in a child’s eyes?” Big Reeno chants on the single.
The video opens with the all-to-familiar KX News footage of Mayor Curt Zimbleman.
“We’re going to become a lake. It’s hard … it’s hard to accept,” the mayor says in the video, which then fades into a quiet instrumental as scenes of the immediate flood’s aftermath fill the screen
The video was directed by Matt Philipenko for BlindSpot Production. Philipenko also produced the Hope Village video found here , as well as another upcoming video about volunteer life at Hope Village.
“Reeno and I thought the idea up after I did the first Hope Village video for Pastor Paul [Krueger, director of Hope Village],” Philapenko said in an email. “We just figured this was a way we could lend a hand. Reeno wrote and scored the song and we shot and edited the video.”
The video features Big Reeno in various flood-affected areas of Minot, including inside homes.
“Eight million dollars estimated damages to residential properties/It’s a catastrophe,” he sings.
As Big Reeno sits on the front steps of a flooded home, he spells out facts about the flood in the lyrics:
“Two hundred ten million estimated damages to public structures. It’s going to cost a homeowner over 150 grand to rebuild his home. Sixty to 120 grand if the home can be fixed. Most of these folks are low to medium-income earners that can’t afford this. They need help. And then need help right now.”
For those who wish to assist in the rebuild, Hope Villages provides housing and meals and coordinates job assignments. Hope Villages works with the kind of homeowners Big Reeno talks about – those who are the most vulnerable and who cannot get back into their homes without assistance.
“Everything that you worked for gone/Four thousand buildings destroyed might not sound like a lot/But it is in a small town,” he says in the song.
The flood damaged 4,180 homes, businesses, churches and schools in Minot – affecting quarter of the city’s population.
In the song, Reene sings with Minot children decked out in Summer of Hope T-shirts and educates fans about the flood.
“Sixteen hundred families living in FEMA temp units/Wondering if the world cares/We’re pumping up flares/Yelling to the world we’re still here.”
The FEMA numbers have declined a bit since the single was released, but there are still over 1,000 FEMA temporary housing units. Those residents face a deadline to move out of the temporary housing or be forced to pay rent on top of their existing mortgage and repairs on their flood-damaged homes.
Over 15 months later, many other flood survivors still live with family and friends as they struggle to rebuild.
“Every day we’re trying to stay strong, even though the day’s long/Tell the world don’t forget us,” he says.
Big Reeno has been writing and performing music since he was 7. His debut CD “Midwest Heavyweight” was released in 2010, and last year he went on the road with Blizzard Music Tour 2011, which also featured hip hop superstar Nelly.
The song’s refrain summarizes the efforts of Hope Village and the entire Long Term Recovery committee in Minot.
“Help bring an end to the stormy weather of the forgotten disaster/Forget me not/Please forget me not/Don’t forget Minot.”
To donate to Hope Village, click the “Donate Now” link on the menu above. Checks may be sent to Hope Village, c/o Our Savior Lutheran Church, 3705 11th St SW, Minot ND 58701.