Anfernee Robinson is neither your average college student nor your typical musician. A business marketing major at CofC, Robinson is a hip-hop artist who uses his talent to help homeless families, including his own.
Robinson recently documented his experiences of himself and his family in a new track called “Small House.” He sings, “It was me, my mama, and siblings living in this small house, small house/ Couldn’t pay the rent, so they kicked us all out, all out.” He then describes the feeling of going through exams while seeing his family’s belongings strewn across the lawn, his mother’s cancer diagnosis, the death of his aunt, and his financial inability to visit his father. The College of Charleston gospel choir sings the chorus, “Will someone please tell me it gets better than this/ ’Cause I can’t see living like this.”
The musician says his family is still at a shelter in his hometown, Florence. “Currently, my family is separated with my mother and sister residing in a shelter, and, after being currently employed trying to claw their way out of the situation with assistance from us all, the search for a new home begins,” says Robinson, who first went to CofC on a scholarship. “I just recently visited my mother at the shelter. I can’t explain why I was crying uncontrollably and couldn’t stop, because even though I could see the pain, tears, and hardship of the past and how they had changed my mother’s eyes, she still managed to smile and claim she was doing just fine.”
High school friend Zach Liles, who’s also a film and video production major at the Art Institute of Charleston, filmed the video for “Small House” on the streets of the Holy City. Robinson hopes the song will not only raise awareness about the reality of homelessness but also spark a movement for a solution. Plans are already underway for what Robinson calls #SmallHouseProject.
“I have come into contact with a group of warm-hearted business owners that have dedicated themselves — as much as I am willing to dedicate myself — to helping the vision come true,” Robinson says. “The team is Trademark Properties, and they already fund a lot of socially responsible nonprofits as well as commit themselves to ‘solving the world’s problems one at a time.’ The vision is to create a business or entity that either helps to build or finance homes for the homeless, or maybe even an area of land for temporary homes — camper homes, small temporary homes, etc.”
But the vision goes deeper than that. “Knowing personally how the effects of the situation can negatively impact someone’s mental, emotional, and social health, we want to help them rebuild the broken home inside of themselves as well,” Robinson says of the homeless families he wants to reach. “We want to link them to the resources they need to get back to being the person they want to be.”
Robinson began bearing his heart through music in high school. “I didn’t truly begin to write songs until I was 13, and I didn’t know that my music could be influential until my very first EP [Wild EP], released my senior year of high school,” he says. “I truly began to see how impactful my music could be after receiving feedback from my first album [self-titled Anfernee], released my junior semester at the College of Charleston.”
Folks everywhere responded to Robinson’s relatable and brutally honest music. “I honestly just see it as an expression of me,” he says. “Everything I write about is through my own personal experiences, so my music is literally me.”
For further updates on both Robinson’s #SmallHouseProject and his music, visit facebook.com/Anfernee.Music.
You watch “Small House” on Anfernee’s YouTube channel here or below.
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