Monday, May 9, 2016

When Life is Your Classroom, The Learning Never Stops

"If the truth is told the youth can grow, they'll learn to survive, until they gain control, nobody says you have to be gangstas, hoes, Read more, learn more, change the globe."  (Nas' I know I Can - from God's Son Album)

Life will go 360 degrees if you follow your vision...

For the past three weekends Nani and I have immersed ourselves in DC culture via our newest learning outlet Words, Beats & Life, Inc.  Living up to its name, Words, Beats & Life is about more than just a roster of free courses to keep youth and young adults busy and off the streets; its mission is true to Hip Hop -  taking what you already (got) know to create your highest self and, innovate your world.   

On April 23rd Nani and I volunteered for WBL's annual Fine Lines Paint Jam.  Alongside a dozen other volunteers we primed a massive 900 ft. long wall, to create a bubble gum pink backdrop where stylings of dozens of artists from around the country would completely transform a highly trafficked walk-through.  The best part is WBL Academy students also bombed the wall taking their rightful place in the beautification of the community in which they live, work, learn and create.  Being part of the prep crew was so much fun and truly an honor.  The next day, a back alley walk-way was transformed by murals, food, music, chess and drum bands - art fleshed out in a kaleidoscope of color, dimension, sound and movement.     

Early am 900 ft. wall priming
Nani goin' at 900 ft. wall with a Roller - 

Nani in Street Art Class

One of Nani's Street Art teachers, Bro. John of WBL.

WBL's All Girl Bomb Squad

DJ RBI's DJing class

Nani chillin' with Grap Luva - Heavy D's cousin at WBL DJing Class

This weekend Nani and I ventured out to one of DC's most famed events in the year - The Funk Parade.  The Funk Parade is a one-of-a-kind day fair, parade and music festival, celebrating Washington DC's vibrant music and arts, the U Street neighborhood, and the Spirit of Funk that brings us all together. What a day!  Words, Beats and Life outdid themselves, once again.

Words, Beats & life hosts the DC public library Harrison Rec family funk pavilion turning it into an area the whole family enjoyed.  I'll let the images speak for themselves, on this one. 

Nani and Krystiana Bonheur's boy Jaedan rockin' WBL's Funk Pavilion Chess board 

Executive Dir. of WBL Mazi sweetening everyone's day with some Cotton Candy.

Eastern Academy's Band Dancers doin' tha damn thang.

Two nights a week from 6pm - 9pm Nani is at the Words, Beats & Life Academy; chillin' with some of the dopest individuals: artists, music producers, DJs, Master Chess players and equally live peers, in a safe, fun and family-friendly environment.  

Kinesthetic learning:
Tactile Learning is a learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations.

WBL's mission is to transform individual lives and whole communities through the training in and presentation of the elements of Hip Hop culture.  Fueled by four core values, WBL staff develops curriculum, projects, and programs to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness for DC youth, parents and area Hip Hop artists.

  • Education: Hip Hop is a valuable teaching tool that engages youth and adults intellectually, creatively and kinesthetically.  
  • Opportunity: Hip Hop culture consists of a set of elements (skills) and experiences that allow its practitioners to transform their personal interests into marketable skills.
  • Ownership: Hip Hop artist, scholars, and communities should be the primary owners of the cultural artifacts they create.
  • Creativity: Hip Hop is a set of forms (elements) that allow harmonious and divergent voices, beliefs, and experiences to be seen, heard, engaged and valued.
The WBL Academy is the youth development component. Classes are FREE to young people ages 5 - 23 who are interested in learning DJing, beat production, b-boying, emceeing, graffiti, photography, spoken word and, chess.  The goal of the Academy is to promote mastery of a skill, employability, and the pursuit of a post-secondary education by helping students make the connection between art and potential career/education routes that are associated with Hip Hop.  (Source: Words Beats & Life: The Global Journal of Hip Hop Culture, Vol. 5 Issue 1).

If you thought I wasn't...I did.

You be safe; I'll be dangerous.



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