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Hear why Bun B is down with Occupy Houston: An exclusive interview with the hip-hop legend

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Houston hip-hop legend Bun B (left) joined Occupy Houston today, supporting for "the 99 percent." Photo by Tyler Rudick
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Numbers have dwindled for the movement since last weekend's rainy relocation to Eleanor Tinsley Park. Photo by Tyler Rudick
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There are no age restrictions to join the movement. Photo by Tyler Rudick
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...and you can even wear a mask, if you like. Photo by Tyler Rudick
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After morning organization meeting, Occupy Houston decided to move back to Hermann Square Park, its original highly-visible location next to City Hall. Photo by Tyler Rudick
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Legendary hip-hop artist Bernard Freeman, better-known as Bun B, made a special appearance at an Occupy Houston event Tuesday at Hermann Square Park next to City Hall, showing his support for the movement that's in its sixth day of "occupation."

“It’s funny being here at City Hall again, especially as part of a protest,” Bun B, who was honored by Mayor Annise Parker at City Hall with a special Bun B Day this summer, tells CultureMap. “But that’s what’s cool about America, right?"

“I’ve been monitoring the news, watching the movement spread to other cities,” he continues. “I was in Boston and DC this past weekend, and protests are strong. It’s amazing to watch the human spirit bring so many people together for this.”

Bun B's appearance comes at a pivotal time for Occupy Houston, after its numbers dwindled over the rainy weekend when occupiers relocated to Eleanor Tinsley Park to make way for the Bayou City Art Festival. Only a small core of key long-term demonstrators remain. The group was able to organize 30 protesters to join unionized METRO workers during a downtown rally Tuesday morning.

Arriving more than half an hour late for the scheduled 11 a.m. meeting with Bun B — surprising considering the guest of honor — Occupy Houston organizers appeared slightly less enthusiastic than they were during last week’s march on the JPMorgan Chase Tower. However, as Bun B joined a fresh crop of protesters at the meeting, a renewed sense of confidence emerged within the group.

 “Americans complain about larger problems all the time, but they tend to do it from the couch,” Bun B says. “It’s great to see people coming out here to debate about what the world can be, rather than just sitting back watching things happen.” 

The meeting focused on the question of whether to return to Hermann Square Park, where Occupy Houston launched it first large-scale occupation last Thursday. While the Tinsley location offers more space and less restrictive camping laws, the movement’s visual presence is greatly diminished. Hermann Square Park, meanwhile, will be hosting a city event this weekend (Saturday is Energy Day), which could lead to another relocation.

As the meeting progressed, tensions mounted between those wanting to hold their ground at a permanently occupied location at City Hall, regardless of a scheduled festival, and those wanting to work to maintain a more cooperative relationship with the city.

In the end, organizers decided to move back to Hermann Square Park for the time being, making an official announcement at 1 p.m. on Occupy Houston’s Facebook page. A general assembly meeting — at which the movement’s central decisions are made by a consensus vote — will be held to discuss further plans for the week.

“Americans complain about larger problems all the time, but they tend to do it from the couch,” Bun B says. “It’s great to see people coming out here to debate about what the world can be, rather than just sitting back watching things happen.”

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