Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program to Expand
Pioneering Educational Hip-Hop Program Ready to Expand
National education crisis motivates schools to look at nontraditional program to help close achievement gap
LOS ANGELES, March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A unique educational Hip Hop program offered at a public school in Los Angeles is now preparing to expand to other schools and colleges. The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program, now in its second year, is currently taught by its creator, Sebastien Elkouby, and is one of the only full time educational Hip Hop programs in the country being offered as an elective to 7th and 8th grade students.
Elkouby, founder of the Urban Youth Empowerment Foundation, an organization which uses Hip Hop culture as a tool for youth empowerment, created this program to address the educational crisis that affects approximately 50% of inner-city students throughout many major urban centers across the nation.
"For a variety of reasons, many students feel disconnected from the traditional educational process and ultimately give up. This program helps students develop a sense of global awareness and critical thinking skills by using Hip Hop culture and Rap music to analyze pop culture, current events, and social issues, while simultaneously teaching language arts, history, social studies, cultural diversity, and geography," said Elkouby. "Using Hip Hop as a medium to reach students makes sense considering they have such a strong connection to it."
With the growing success of the program, various high schools and colleges have now voiced their interest in offering this course to their students. Elkouby adds, "This is an exciting time as educators are increasingly aware of the urgent need for innovative, culturally relevant instructional models that can motivate students to improve their grades and value their education. Thus, our program has now been restructured to also meet the needs of high school and college students. We are looking forward to working with new schools this year and beyond."
The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program is currently in session while working toward expanding its reach to other schools for the 2008-2009 school year.
About the Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program
The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Program is the flagship component of the Urban Youth Empowerment Foundation, a Los Angeles organization founded by Sebastien Elkouby. Since 2001, this organization has used innovative methods to reach at-risk youth. Through a variety of workshops ranging in themes from job training to teen parenting, the Foundation has always used Hip Hop culture as a medium to reach its audience. The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Program was created to address the high dropout rates in L.A. schools and was implemented at its first school on a full time basis in 2006. This program capitalizes on Hip Hop's generational relevance to help students become socially aware while complementing core subjects such as English and history. For more information, visit http://www.thefoundationonline.net/.
Contact: Sebastian Elkouby Founder, The Urban Youth Empowerment Foundation Phone: 310-654-1681 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.thefoundationonline.net.
Paradise Gray on the Take Back America Conference 2008: Confrontation with Fox News
Paradise of X-Clan
Take Back America Conference 2008: Confrontation with Fox News By Paradise Gray
This years "Take Back America Conference" in Washington D.C. was much more exciting and energetic than the one I attended just a year ago. There were more young people of color present and everyone seemed to have extra pep in their step.
I began the weekend with The League of Young Voters, taking their empowering "Tunnel Building" leadership training program at the offices of The People For The American Way. The training sessions were good, and included veteren and aspiring organizers from all across America, some as young as 17 years old. The new National Director of the League Rob "Biko" Baker and National Political Director Khari Mosley handled many of the training workshops personally. It was a pleasure to work with these brothers and I learned some great new ideas and concepts to use for organizing effective actions and successful campaigns. I was happy to contribute by helping to teach a workshop on using new media and the internet (Myspace and Facebook) as organizing tools.
On Monday March 17th we headed over to the The Omni Shoreham Hotel where Van Jones the President and founder of "Green For All" brought the heat to the take Back America Conference at this morning. Speaking to an overflowing room full of progressive Democrats Mr. Jones passionately explained the benefits of an emerging Green Economy. His inspiring speech informed the diverse crowd about policies and initiatives that could create jobs, efficient energy, reduce carbon emissions and improve local economies.
Mr. Jones received thunderous applause when he noted that by retrofitting American cities with renewable energy sources such as wind, solar panels and other alternate sustainable energy sources it would ensure that we would never have to wage war for oil again! In the crowd I noticed the Reverend Jessie Jackson, Davey D as well as members of the League Of Young Voters, One HOOD, the National Political Hip-hop Convention, Reverend Yearwood and The Hip-hop Caucus and members of The Gathering. Keep your eyes on Van Jones and the concept of a Green Economy and Green-Collar Jobs. Van Jones is a dynamic speaker with a great plan, his final words "I am not here to "Take America Back, I'm here to take America forward" connected and resonated well with this large progressive crowd.
Things got kind of heated on Tuesday morning March 18 when the Rev. Jessie Jackson was scheduled speak on a panel "Progressive Movement In A Democratic Era: The Lessons Of King And The Civil Rights Movement".The energy was already elevated as everyone was anxiously awaiting 10:30 when Barack Obama was scheduled to give his historic speech on race relations in America. As I approched the Regency Ballroom I noticed the Rev. Jessie Jackson being interviewed by Griff Jenkins from Fox News. Griff Jenkins was being very aggressive as he demanded that Rev. Jackson answer the question: "Do you or do you not condemn Barack Obama's former Pastor Rev. Wright?" When Rev. Jackson refused to answer in the way that Mr. Jenkins was asking, the FOX reporter would interupt him and ask the same question over and over. Rev. Jackson then accused Mr. Jenkins of using divisive tactics instead of covering the issues that are important to this election, and the American people such as the war in Iraq, health care and the economy, once again Mr. Jenkins rudely pushed his microphone towards Rev. Jackson's face and forcefully reiterated "Do you or do you not condemn Rev. Wright?"
I did not appreciate the way Mr. Jenkins was treating Rev. Jackson and loudly voiced my opinion as Rev. Jackson (annoyed by Mr. Jenkins un-professionalism) walked away.
Mr. Jenkins then interviewed me and and when asked the same question of whether or not I condemned Rev. Wright, I responded that when you are face down in a mud puddle with someone's foot on the back of your neck, you should not be judged by the words that come out of your mouth at that moment, anger is the appropriate natural human response to oppression!
I argued that Rev. Wright's sermons were based on real feelings within the black community and had foundations in fire and brimstone preaching directly from the bible. Mr. Jenkins attempted to cut me off in the middle of sentences but I continued that I could quote him hundreds of statements from the bible that he would not agree with and he would not even recognize that I was quoting the bible unless I told him in advance. I commented on the fact that although we have named a holiday after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and we have renamed streets after him and put his image on postage stamps, America did not exactly love him nor his message while he was living nor did America have a love affair with Malcolm X. In my opinion after seeing the aggressive way that he was coming at Rev. Jessie Jackson, if Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and EL-HAJJ MALIK EL-SHABAZZ (Malcolm X) were alive today, FOX News would have microphones and cameras rudely shoved into Senator Obama's face, demanding that he condemn and reject them both!
I also questioned Mr. Jenkins about why he was interrogating Rev. Jackson so hard when Barack Obama would be addressing the situation in his own words in less than 2 hours, I suggested that Mr. Jenkins that we should all wait until we have given Senator Obama the opportunity to address it personally before we form our opinions.
I guess that wasn't enough for Griff Jenkins because as soon as the panel was over, his FOX News TV crew pushed past other journalists on the stage who were asking Rev. Jackson questions about the 5th Anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. Davey D happened to be one of the journalists who was patently waiting for his turn to ask Rev. Jackson some questions, when Griff Jenkins barged in and started dominating the conversation, repeatedly demanding Rev. Jackson to answer, and diverting from the questions that others were asking about the war Davey had seen and heard enough, he began asking Griff Jenkins why are you here? Aggressively pushing his mic in Griff Jenkins face as he had done Rev. Jackson, and stepping in front of a retreating Griff Jenkins asking, why are you here?
Davey encouraged others to flip the script on aggressive TV reporters that come in and try to set a tone that is contrary to the way that you are coming from, "you have a right to stop them from dominating the conversation and regain control. Fox News has declared war on people of color and puts them in a defensive position, has not given them a fair chance to answer back to salatious charges and assertions. They have one sided conversations by asking you questions and cutting you off before you have a chance to answer them. Fox News creates an agenda and then places people of color within that framework to underscore what they are trying to say.
Davey D said that what they tried to do to Rev. Jessie Jackson was a perfect example of "ambushing someone with the cameras" they kept asking Rev. Jackson over and over "why don't you denounce Rev. Wright?" ' And as Rev. Jackson tried to answer they would interrupt him with "why don't you denounce Rev. Wright?" Davey D thought that it was disrespectful, not as much towards Rev. Jackson (who Davey says can handle himself) as much as it is towards millions of people who can discern what is outrageous or offensive on their own without aid from someone who doesn't go to the church so they don't know how to put things in the proper context.
"Hosts of WNYU's Halftime Show, DJ's Eclipse and Skizz rang in their 10 year anniversary show on Wednesday, March 5th with dozens of legendary guests, including DJ Premier, The Alchemist, Sadat X, Masta Ace, Craig G, Joell Ortiz, plus many more."
At the Halftime Show's 10th Anniversary [Photo courtesy Robert Adam Mayer]
"DJ Eclipse started the historic night with radio personalities Bobbito (WKCR & WQHT), J Smooth with DJ's A.Vee & Spinna (WBAI), Martin Moore, Mayhem & Sunset (WNYU), P-Fine (WNYU), Riz (WBAU, WNYU & WKTU), Sucio Smash & Timm See (WKCR), who came on to warm up the stage for the slew of emcees and producers who spit scathing rhymes backed by live beats. Eclipse brought on the group Natural Elements as a tribute to them being the first guests he had on the very first Halftime Show in March 1998. DJ's Revolution and Scratch performed short DJ routines between sets. The show normally runs from 10:30pm until 1am every Wednesday night on 89.1 FM and online at www.wnyu.org but on this special night, the show continued into the night until 1:40am."
"Eclipse is offering fans downloads of the show, including the exclusive extra 40 minute session that was officially "off air" here:"
Old Guard Plays Catch Up: Russell Simmons Endorses Barack Obama
Press Release: Russell Simmons Endorses Barack Obama
NEW YORK, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Today I am announcing my personal endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States. During the last nine months, I have closely observed the presidential campaigns, analyzed the issues and platforms of the major candidates, and have had substantive discussions with Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. From the sidelines of the primaries and debates, I have been particularly inspired by the fact that Senator Obama has built an unprecedented, national movement comprised of people from all ethnic, racial, political, social and economic backgrounds.
In particular, the response to Obama by young voters across America continues to be monumental. Obama's leadership, passion and demand for a change resonates effectively with the aspirations of millions of people who want a better quality of life. This is truly a transcendent and historic moment in American politics and I am obligated not to remain on the sidelines.
Although I have great respect for the accomplishments of Senator Clinton and I have personally worked with Senator Clinton successfully on issues concerning education, prison reform and poverty, I am now compelled by my own personal conscience to publicly state, "I support and endorse Barack Obama for President."
As the Chairman of the non-partisan, nonprofit The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, it is my personal opinion that Senator Obama's campaign for President has and will continue to transcend race in America and have a profound positive impact on the very issues I have been fighting for my whole life. Many of you know my work as Chairman of the non-partisan, nonprofit Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. Hip-Hop as a cultural phenomena is also about transformation and taking action to end poverty, war and ignorance. While I am endorsing Senator Obama as a private citizen, I am in complete solidarity with the transformative consciousness of the growing number artists and young people from the hip-hop generation that are overwhelmingly supporting Obama.
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