Just because music is basically free nowadays doesn’t mean you can’t still give back to Hip-Hop. Here’s one small way you can chip in to a very worthy cause that uses our favorite art form to make a positive impact on the community. It’ll make you feel better about the twenty albums you downloaded this week, I promise.
Here’s the story: when I moved out West, I left behind the non-profit organization I started in St. Louis to teach youth through Hip-Hop, hoping I’d find a similar organization in California where I could connect with a new group of like-minded individuals who wanted to use the genre as an educational tool. Our St. Louis program was great and provided a handful of kids with skills to help them harness their passion for Hip-Hop while applying real life lessons. However, due to a lack of funding, it was hard to expand past a certain point even though I always saw potential for it to grow. When I met DJ Phatrick in Los Angeles (through friend of TSS, Bambu), I discovered an organization called SESSIONS LA that executed the vision I had for my program and did much more.
Phatrick, Bambu, and a handful of volunteer teaching assistants (including recent graduates of the program) work with a group of about twenty youth for three to four hours, twice a week. They work with the students to improve their MCing, DJing, production and audio engineering abilities, and help them think critically about the music they hear and the world around them. More than all of that, it’s a safe place and a second family for the youth who more often then not are escaping unsafe neighborhoods and turbulent home lives. They’ve put out a couple of mixtapes and an album (available on Bandcamp) and do monthly shows where they bring in headliners like Thurz, Rhettmatic and Ill Camille.
I say all that to say this: I’ve since moved out of L.A., but getting involved in SESSIONS is the best thing I did while living there. It is a very important and positive program that the community desperately needs but they have recently lost their funding. I’ll let Phatrick explain:
“Unfortunately, SESSIONS is the latest victim of the recession. As of October 1st, we no longer have any funding. Therefore we need the community to help SESSIONS continue teaching the kids without interruption until we find funds to support us long-term.”
This is where the the community-at-large comes into play.
They’ve got an Indiegogo campaign set up where you can donate. Depending on how much you throw their way, you could end up with a verse from Bambu or Rocky Rivera, DJ lessons or the more standard T-shirt and CD. If you can, please donate. If you can’t, we totally understand–maybe pass the link along to someone who might be in a position to help, if you don’t mind.
For additional info, visit SESSIONSLA.com.