Student uses music to spread peace


Courtesy Jessica Disu

Jessica Disu, a senior business & entrepreneurship major, has expanded her single “Still Believe, Yeah” into a tour to promote positive change in Chicago Public Schools and throughout the city.

By Katlyn Tolly

Using a passion for music as a tool to promote positive change, Jessica Disu, a junior business & entrepreneurship major, kicked off her “Still Believe” tour March 20 in Chicago Public Schools to promote peace in the Chicago community.

Disu, who goes by the stage name FM Supreme, is an activist and humanitarian rap artist who uses the power of music to inspire others. Disu said she wrote her song “Still Believe, Yeah” for ABC 7 Chicago to reach out to impoverished families on the South and West sides of Chicago. Disu performed her PSA during the March 4 broadcast of Windy City Live, which promoted a message to stay hopeful during difficult times. 

“I’m pushing [people] to still believe in something, still believe in yourself, your education, God and your community,” Disu said. “Without hope, we have nothing. Without faith, we have nothing. I’m calling my brothers and sisters across Chicago to choose to be the light, to be the change we wish to see and make a positive difference in our community.”

Disu has expanded the PSA into an hour-long assembly that tours more than 25 CPS facilities, including juvenile detention centers and alternative education facilities. 

Phillip Hampton, chief officer of community & family engagement at CPS, said Disu’s efforts will benefit students by introducing a role model that has shared similar experiences as some of the students.

“Because of the different messages and unfortunate incidents [the students] are bombarded with on a day-to-day basis, it’s good for them to see someone else,” Hampton said. “I believe, for many young people, it will be an eye-opening experience to reinforce the messages of doing the right thing. Hopefully, some of them will be inspired because they have skills and talents as well.” 

Hampton said Disu has performed at CPS in the past and it was a positive experience for both students and staff. 

“The purpose of this tour is to promote peace and engage young people, but also [to] tell them that we must be the change,” Disu said. “No one is going to come and save us. We must save ourselves.” 

Susan Work, CEO of Holy Family Ministry, a nonprofit organization focusing on education and youth development, said Disu understands how to communicate effectively with kids by promoting peace in ways that are deeply personal and relatable.   

“Jessica is a confident leader and understands how to move culture,” Work said. “She writes from powerful personal experiences. When Jessica is at our school, [the children] listen.”

Disu said she performed “Still Believe, Yeah” March 19 at South by Southwest, an annual interactive music and film festival held in Austin, Texas. Disu said she hopes to take her tour nationwide and perform in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles. 

“It’s not easy in youth culture to find ways to get messages through,” Work said. “Jessica has discovered [this] power using music and spoken word.” 

In addition to making music, Disu is also the founder of the Chicago International Youth Peace Movement, an organization that strives to establish peace in the next generation, and co-founder of The Peace Exchange, a community-based organization that promotes peace and youth leadership both internationally and in the Chicago community. Disu is also a two-time champion of Louder Than A Bomb, Chicago’s youth poetry slam festival. Disu said she is passionate about making a positive change by letting the community’s voices be heard. 

“Success is not the destination, it’s the journey,” Disu said. “The feelings and emotions in the process is what makes the experience.”