I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: One of the things that makes the bay (yee) so magical is its folks and their commitment to building and creating to effect positive change, and their commitment to passing that practice on to the next generation. This past week I had been asked to visit the young homies at Mural Music & Arts Project to check out what they had been building on all year in their History through Hip Hop (HHH) after-school program. ( Straight from the mission: HHH targets school retention and literacy by employing, high-risk students to write, record, and produce original music.)

Last year, I had spent my summer with some of these same kids down in East Palo Alto as they prepared to preform original music, dance, and a mural they put together under the supervision of the legendary writer and educator Scape Martinez. We kicked it, politik’d on current events, roots, culture, history, and the summer’s theme:  “Movements: Flow of Ideas, Resources, and People.” We broke bread, learned, and grew. This year, it seems the only thing that has changed is the theme of their showcase (GENTRIFICATION) and an overall boost in spirits and confidence. I saw kids who were too shy to even have their picture taken last summer get amp’d and ready to emcee and take their spotlight as they showed me (the camera) the ropes. It’s dope. Growth. I mean, as a self-identified educator and entrepreneur, I’m constantly putting myself in situations where I feel less than comfortable because I push myself to conquer new territory. But that’s not something I can say I did in highschool- the idea to do so just wasn’t there for me. I’m so so soooo honored to be able to witness the growth that these kids are going through in their creative and mental spaces. It’s out of this world, and I’m excited for what’s to come.

SPEAKING OF WHAT’S TO COME! HHH is going to have a showcase on June 5th at THE WARFIELD in San Francisco!!! The energy WILL be high, so if you can, please go check it out. Doors are at 8pm. The theme of the show is Gentrification. A lot of these kids are San Francisco natives who’s lives are directly effected by all the bougification the city’s been experiencing, and what they have to say is so so important.

As if that wasn’t enticing enough, please witness the following video of them performing one of their dope ass original songs, called Money Ain’t Worth It (excuse the crappy footage, we hadn’t planned on filming this and I ran out of memory half way through so we had to be… resourceful. ANYWAYS, feast your eyes, ears, and hearts….. :))