Baba Zumbi of Oakland hip-hop group Zion I was shooting a music video with about 15 other people in West Oakland on July 10 when they were robbed of a very expensive video camera. Zumbi explains in the video that he and the crew were approached by three men, and one held a gun to the cameraman's head and took the camera, which also had most of that day's footage on it.
"When somebody takes something that you're working on... it just kind of f**ks up your day," Zumbi says.
The video, which he says focused on the "lack of opportunity" for Oaklanders, included characters in suits wearing masks of Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump, Richard Nixon, and Abraham Lincoln. It's for a track of Zion I's latest album The Labyrinth, which is the first that Zumbi has done without partner Amp Live.
Zumi tells Hip Hop DX that he had noticed the thieves driving by about an hour before the robbery but, he says, "I was just so into how dope the footage was looking and the good vibe on set that I chose to ignore my intuition."
Now, Zumbi says he wants to take the "negative energy" created by the robbery and turn it into something positive, and he's appealing to fans to donate to a crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of the insurance deductible for the camera, which is $7,500. So far they've raised over $5,800.
The robbery happened exactly one week before a similar robbery of a professional video camera in Oakland. On July 17, a reality TV crew for the YouTube show This Is Summer was robbed at gunpoint in Oakland's Uptown neighborhood, and a $50,000 camera was taken.
As the Chronicle notes, after a string of such robberies, local TV news crews typically employ a security detail when shooting in the East Bay.