A young Bed-Stuy native uses turntables and a mic to give those who have been bullied messages of hope and encouragement.
Brooklyn resident, DJ Annie Red, has published a book, received awards, been recognized by local politicians, appeared on television... and she's only in elementary school.
The 9-year-old Bedford-Stuyvesant local starting writing, rhyming and DJ'ing when she was seven years old. DJ Annie Red, whose real name is Samirah Horton, says school got her into writing, but it was her dad that inspired her to try music.
"My dad is a DJ, so he taught me how to DJ," she said. "One time we were in the basement, and I was like, I really want to do this, so I started taking lessons at Scratch Academy in Manhattan. Now I know how to use controllers and turn tables."
Choosing her stage name was easy: "When I was little, my face was always really red and blushy, and my dad's nickname for me was Annie Red Little Peg because my grandmas name is Peggy and I look exactly like her," she said.
DJ Annie Red has four tracks on Soundcloud and Youtube, focuses her lyrics on things that affect people her age, in particular— bullying.
She says she was the target of bullying because of her raspy voice, and she wants other kids who get bullied to take pride in their individualities. She also wants to make it clear to bullies that what they do is not OK!
The hard work she's put in to performing and combatting bullying has earned her the 2017 Danny Glover Power of Dream Music Award and the 2016 Cops versus Kids Brooklyn North DJ Competition.
It has also earned her citations from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, public advocate Leticia James, and State Senators Jesse Hamilton and Leroy Comrie.
Samirah even had her hit song, "The Bully Stop," made into a bilingual book. The book is illustrated by her aunt and is available on Amazon and in Barnes and Noble.
Going forward, Samirah hopes to hold events to showcase her music and message, support other kid entrepreneurs and get more work published with the Huffington Post, where she had an anti-bullying piece published.
You can catch her performing this weekend at Frozen Kids Festival at Pac Plex Dome and then in shows for New York Fashion Week.