When I first began to support YAP! I just knew that I wanted to do something good for the world. I liked youth, I liked hip hop, seemed like a perfect fit. It was. As the weeks went on I became more invested. I watched as youth were led by their mentors to not just create music, but to research their subjects diligently and make sure to convey pieces of the story that had been left out or forgotten. The results? Tracks that educate the masses and speak from the heart, as well as youth taking the lead in showing what music could do. They disproved all the scepticism and naysayers that complacently cried over a “lost generation.” No. These youth were far from lost. These youth not only knew where they were from- but were determined to share that rich history with the world and lead us to a brighter future.
Its been some months now since I started, and they still do not cease to amaze me. Frank Barrows (recipient of the 2o1o Tilden Award) and Ben “First Be” Gilbarg (Founding father of the youth initiative Third Eye Unlimited and prominent video director) lead the way to create audio and video that has substance and show the true potential of a generation that many almost gave up on. I am often moved, always inspired. And as they have gone forward the nation is starting to take notice. First with Michelle Obama for the Let’s Move Campaign, and then with the National Park Service.
So when I ask you to support YAP! Its not just because it my job…it is because I believe in them and what they are doing. These youth are setting a model to be replicated nationwide, and taking their small town and making it global. They are teaching us that in order to get to where we are going, we first need to understand where we are from. They are showing us that our history is rich, that our struggles are world wide… and so is our potential.