The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

EC rapper promotes anti-bullying in music videos

Photo credit: Jorge Villa

Danny Arana may seem like your average, everyday EC student, but much like Clark Kent, there’s an entirely different persona hidden in plain sight.

That persona is Lord Roka, Danny’s artist name, his superman to his Clark Kent, and as an artist, Danny has a positive message for anyone out there who’s willing to listen.

“Dinosaurs & Robots” is a song that Danny, as Lord Roka, made a music video for as a way of promoting uplifting messages like being yourself and not giving into peer pressure.

“Basically, the dinosaurs are the bullies, and the robots are the nerds, and they’re fighting with one another, trying to take over the school,” Arana said. “And then (in) the music video you have a young child who’s going to school and here he’s deciding on whether he should be part of the dinosaurs and conform to their way of life or just be like the robots and just be proud to be a nerd and don’t let nobody punk you, even if you do get hurt, so, at the end of the music video the child just decides to just be himself, and just be like ‘you know I’m not gonna be part of that world or this world, I’m (going to) just be me.'”

The commitment that Danny has with his artistry, is the same commitment that he has with being a student at EC.

“I have the same passion for both education and music, and I love to learn, I love to read books, I’ve been reading books since I was five years old,” Arana said. “They just balance each other out and that’s how I’m able to come to school and also be active in my passion which is music.”

However, Danny wasn’t always so focused on education like he is now. Prior to coming to EC, Danny lead a more disorderly lifestyle.

“Before ECC, I was just working, and also, I had friends who were active in the gang life in L.A. and I also became a gang member myself,” Arana said. “When you’re in that type of environment (you’re) just thinking survival, (you’re) thinking how the best way to get away with robbing somebody or beating somebody up or defending yourself.”

After coming to EC in spring 2010, Danny began to turn his life around for the better and he credits EC itself for this positive change.

“EC changed my life (because) now (I’m focusing) more on how can I survive in the educational world and a world that’s striving to go up instead of going down,” Arana said. “Now that I’m at EC, I’m focusing on how to get better grades, how to network with people (and) how to talk to individuals because you have to be that way in order to survive in this college environment.”

Danny Arana, peeks inside the hood of his lamp, which he uses to illuminate at night when he is working on his makeshift desktop. Photo credit: Jorge Villa

Danny also credits Project Success, a program on campus that works with EC students, for helping him change his mentality for the better as well.

One of Danny’s counselors at Project Success, Brian Mims, notes how the program has assisted Danny into becoming motivated to go after an education.

“Once he came here and joined the program he was able to see students that looked like himself and looked differently, but (were) still pursuing their education,” Mims said. “And (him) finding out that it’s not a bad thing (to) actually do this.”

Danny’s history professor, Daniel Walker, has great sentiments about Danny’s life outside of the classroom, particularly in the realm of music, especially after watching the music video for “Dinosaurs & Robots.”

“It really shows his vision for what art is, when you think of him, he’s an artist. He’s not just like ‘I’m just rapping.’ He gets it,” Walker said. “At the same time, it’s good music. Some people, they try too hard to be so conscious and then it’s like ‘but it’s not good anymore’, it’s not that, he’s grooving.”

Danny Arana, writing lyrics in front of his makeshift desktop. Arana is in his two bedroom apartment living room located in South Central.

Catch Danny Arana as Lord Roka, performing “Dinosaurs & Robots” live on Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. during the Black Student Union Dinner in the Alondra Room above the bookstore.

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