In an effort to create and CELEBRATE community —  we can’t forget about the power of music! Today, I sit down with Khafre Jay to discuss Hip Hop culture, its perception, and its impact in the community.

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Empowering the youth and breaking barriers with music

“Hip Hop is positive. It’s the catalyst for self-determination, for fighting oppression, for self-efficacy and self-love” Click To Tweet

In an effort to create and CELEBRATE community —  we can’t forget about the power of music! Whether it is hip hop, gospel, country or top 40… music is the soundtrack of our lives. From neurological activation to the way we tap our feet (or get up and boogie) the art form of music is both expressive and connective. It’s also a reflection of our culture and society. It bonds us through shared joy and pain. That’s why I sit down today with Khafre Jay to discuss Hip Hop culture and its impact on communities.

Hip Hop for Change is a grassroots nonprofit organization fighting to protect the culture of Black America, empowering young kids by developing their sense of self-affirmation and breaking the cultural barriers with activism deeply rooted in communities dealing with real issues. Khafre Jay, a community organizer, nonprofit consultant, keynote speaker, and executive director of Hip Hop for Change, joins us today to share the achievements and the vision of this 501c3 education organization that uses Hip Hop culture to educate and advocate for social justice.

Khafre’s path to self-worth

Back in 2014, Khafre created THE MC program, a modular curriculum using Hip Hop history and culture to focus on healthy expression and positive identity. He has worked with over 22 thousand youth, K-12, to create healthier places for children to foster their creativity and positive identity. 

Khafre travels the country now speaking academically at conferences, universities, consulting, and leading diversity workshops, and has also graced the TEDx stage. As a performing artist, he has shared the stage with world-class acts such as Rakim, Method Man, Dead Prez, Hieroglyphics, The Pharcyde, Talib Kweli, and many more. To top it off, since 2014 Khafre has hosted Hip Hop For Change Radio, a weekly radio program on San Francisco’s KPOO 89.5 FM that supports his local Hip Hop community. 

Transforming art is a revolutionary act

How can we turn our internal monologue into an art form for self-expression? 30% of kids growing up in Oakland have been diagnosed with PTSD — a higher rate than vets coming back from Iraq — and most of these kids don’t get to attend an art class while at school. The youth today needs powerful and fun tools to keep moving forward in life, to keep themselves updated and to have the courage to face the future of our country united, instead of being divided by colors, by ideas, or by sides.

The MC program at Hip Hop for Change was developed to teach kids the history of Hip Hop culture, and how to breakdance, rap, graffiti, and DJ. Building a pedagogy with the basis of self-determination to propel young kids and make them believe in their worth, Khafre has raised almost 4 million dollars in 7 years, taught more than 8,000 students, and employed almost a thousand people from the community to become hip-hop activists. become hip-hop activists.

Hip Hop culture often gets a bad rap

The narratives we tell each other as members of a community have a deep impact in our lives. 

Did you know that Hip Hop is a $7 billion industry? 90% of Hip Hop music is owned by three corporations that consolidated the music industry back in the ’90s. But Hip Hop doesn’t come from a place of wealth: the images that we are used to seeing in Hip Hop are fabricated realities, perpetrated by a narrative designed to sell. 70% of Hip Hop today is consumed by suburban white men between 18 and 24, and stories that focus on sex, drugs an violence —  the narratives that tend to sell better —  have an effect on our perception about ourselves and others.

Hip Hop is more than music: it is a whole culture that goes beyond a trend. It was and still is a political movement, and that’s one of the things I love the most about it. It is a lifestyle and it’s how you can engage with the world. It is a free-flowing vehicle of expression that allows us to share our own authentic selves. It is a terminology to pass information within the community. 

Tune in this episode of Creating Community for Good, as we discover alongside Khafre Jay all about Hip Hop culture, we learn how to freestyle and the growing power that comes with speaking from your true authentic self!

Key Takeaways: 

07:19 – How Hip Hop for Change is creating a stable base for the self-determination and empowerment of the youth and the community. 

20:21- Rapping 101: how you can start freestyling in 2 minutes and overcome prejudice toward yourself.

23:39 – Empowering society & culture through creative outlets for self-expression and supporting each others’ efforts.

30:12 – Grassroots fundraising learned from Greenpeace and how it has allowed Hip Hop for Change to be independent and sovereign, avoiding having to bend over or bow and change the mission for foundational support.

36:21 – Khafrey’s take on the Black Lives Matter movement: how it’s transformed and what is expected of them now that they are a multi-million organization. 

42:30 – Hear this authentic case for support pitch for WHY support Hip Hop for Change and why it’s a worthy investment during COVID-19, Giving Tuesday and End of Year Giving.

55:52 – Why doesn’t this social justice organization take corporate funds? Understand what it means to be politically sovereign and authentic.

Connect with Khafre

Nonprofit | Hip Hop For Change Inc. | United States

Hip Hop For Change, Inc.

Follow Hip hop for Change on Facebook

Follow Hip Hop for Change on Twitter

Episode Resources

Hip Hop Organizing, Education, and Activism At It’s Finest!

The Truth About Hip Hop and the Private Prison Industry


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