(From Dallas Observer)
Yvette Gbalazeh performs street rap on a street corner in Deep Ellum. Two body piercers provide the beat, while a panhandler watches her performance, a protest in support of medicinal marijuana legalization in Texas.
The 33-year-old marijuana activist usually holds a cardboard sign that reads “Will Rap 4 Weed.” But she didn’t bring it this evening. Instead, she wore a green T-shirt with the words “Will Rap 4 Weed” imprinted on the front. She says it began as a way for her to get weed to eat, then turned into a protest when she returned to Texas but now it’s morphed into a moniker. “Hey, Will Rap 4 Weed girl,” passersby will call.
Gbalazeh chose a cardboard sign to display her message because she felt it would desensitize people not only to marijuana but also the fact that there is a protester in their midst. She wishes more people would protest. She’s been rapping on the street corners of Deep Ellum for more than a year, holding her cardboard sign.
She says she’s not a panhandler but an activist who’s spreading a message, an idea that she hopes will eventually end the persecution of more than 72,000 Texans who were arrested for simple marijuana possession in 2012 alone. It’s a crime in Texas that carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine as well as possible loss of license, future employment and housing discrimination because of having a criminal record.