Another day, another chance for Pati Navalta Poblete to turn her son Robby’s tragic death into something meaningful.
Not that the former Vallejoan-turned-Fairfield resident ever thought she would be in a music video. However, half-joking that she was worried she would have to dance, Navalta Poblete is thrilled that singer/songwriter Michael Franti tabbed her as he pursued several subjects who have “transformed tragedy into something positive.”
Franti’s music video for “Flower in the Gun” is “coming soon,” according to Franti’s publicist.
Navalta Poblete can’t wait.
“It’s exciting in that it’s nothing I thought I’d ever be involved in,” Navalta Poblete said Wednesday afternoon, adding that Franti is “hoping to make an impact through his art, and that’s what our goal is with Art of Peace,” a component of the Robby Poblete Foundation.
Navalta Poblete called the music video “unexpected and very exciting, but also very aligned to what we’re doing — raising awareness about a social crisis.”
Navalta Poblete’s part in the music video was finished Tuesday in San Francisco.
“They filmed difference scenes with me — holding Robby’s pictures; placing a flower in a gun barrel; looking directly into the camera; and looking out the window,” Navalta Poblete said.
The video is about three minutes, “but Franti and his team hope it can be part of a larger project where they can show more of the footage and tell more of each person’s story,” Navalta Poblete said.
On Wednesday, Franti and his crew flew to Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., to film some of the survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people and injured 17 others.
“To be included with survivors of a mass shooting, and other parents who have turned their pain into purpose is very rewarding and humbling for me,” Navalta Poblete said. “I hope when people see the video they will take time to look up all the people in it to learn more about them. I was wearing our Robby Poblete Foundation shirt for that reason.”
Because of an exclusive arrangement with a Bay Area-based music magazine that sounds like a British rock group that isn’t the Beatles, Franti was unavailable for comment.
The musician became aware of the Poblete Foundation via Rudy Corpus Jr. with United Playrz in San Francisco who partnered with the Poblete Foundation at this year’s San Francisco Gun Buyback and Art of Peace San Francisco.
“Rudy told them about me and The Robby Poblete Foundation,” Navalta Poblete said. “They looked at our website and loved what we are doing and reached out.”
Navalta Poblete said she is particularly touched by the chorus in “Flower in the Gun.” —
We could be the healing
When you’re feeling all alone
We could be the reason
To find the strength to carry on
In a world that’s so divided
We shall overcome
We could be the healing
We can be the flower in the gun
“I’ve had to really look within myself to find the strength,” Navalta Poblete said. “Not only to carry on, but to turn all that pain into something positive and powerful.”
Navalta Poblete said Tuesday was actually the first day she met the musician, known locally for his annual appearances at the BottleRock Napa Valley festival.
“I walked in while he was still in the middle of filming an interview, so I just caught a glimpse of him behind a back-drop and waited until he was done,” Navalta Poblete said. “When he finally stood up, I was surprised how tall he was.”
“I reached out to shake his hand, but instead he extended his wide arm span and gave me a big hug,” Navalta Poblete said. “I could tell he was emotional about the song.”
When Navalta Poblete presented photographs of her son, Franti “looked at it for a long time, commenting on how handsome he was. He asked me questions about Robby. I think this song means a lot to him and he wants to use it to make a difference.”
Robby Poblete was shot and killed in Vallejo on Sept. 21, 2014. The foundation was created to honor him and create educational and vocational opportunities.
Not long after the foundation began, it was awarded a $150,000 grant from the California Wellness Foundation.
Earlier this year, Assemblyman Tim Grayson named The Robby Poblete Foundation “California Nonprofit of the Year.”
Thank you: Times Herald