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Wedding video now a tool to fight violence

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH
  • Star Tribune
  • July 31, 2009 - 11:07 PM

Those dancing St. Paul newlyweds whose YouTube wedding procession video has been a viral hit are now using their global fame to raise money to combat domestic violence.

And it's no accident that Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz chose that cause. The video's music comes from Chris Brown, the R&B vocalist and convicted domestic abuser of fellow singing-star Rihanna.

While the overwhelming response to the video has been positive, some comments left with the YouTube link and on news websites lament that the couple chose a song from a man who assaulted his then-girlfriend.

Wrote one YouTube member in the video's comments: "chris brown???? r u serious the guys a convicted woman abuser ... get some sense."

Peterson and Heinz explain on their new website, www.jkweddingdance.com, "Due to the circumstances surrounding the song in our wedding video we have chosen the Sheila Wellstone Institute."

Peterson and Heinz note that "Sheila Wellstone was an advocate, organizer, and national champion in the effort to end domestic violence in our communities."

On Friday, Wellstone officials reported that the video had inspired 100 people to donate more than $3,000.

The song in the video, "Forever," also has collected a surge in digital downloads of the hit since the wedding video went live July 19. Nielsen reports that digital downloads for the song went from fewer than 3,000 for the week ending July 19 to 50,000 for the week ending July 26, even though "Forever" was released in 2008.

The couple's video from the June 20 wedding at Christ Lutheran Church in St. Paul has collected more than 13 million views as of Friday night. It also includes an ad for downloading the song.

Also this week, a video producer in New York twisted the popular hit to produce "Jill and Kevin's Last Day." Playing off many of the dance moves in the St. Paul couple's video, this 3-minute clip also uses the same Chris Brown song while the "divorce party" enters a courtroom.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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