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Posts Tagged ‘rap’

Photo: Tim Clyne
Genesis Blu calls herself a “raptivist” — a mix of rapper and activist. She also works as a psychotherapist.

I heard Genesis Blu interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) one day when I was driving and thought you might be interested. She is a rapper, an activist, and a psycotherapist.

NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro interviewed her at SugarHill Recording Studios, where Genesis Blu recorded the tracks for her EP, “Bluming Season.”

“Genesis Blu calls herself a ‘raptivist,’ mixing hip-hop with advocacy. She says she dedicates time to ‘facilitating change in her community.’ The dual passions for politics and music started at a young age.

” ‘I would be like 12 years old, going to a nightclub, where people are smoking and drinking. I was always a different type of kid, so my songs would be about the struggle, the political climate — even that young. And they would be like, “Where is this little girl coming from with this stuff?” ‘

“But when she got older, she put the music career on hold and focused on school — a lot of school. She got a bachelor’s, a master’s and started her doctorate. Until she had an epiphany one day — she wanted to be back in the community, writing music. She was in the middle of her dissertation.

” ‘I literally stopped that day, put down that pen and picked up another pen and a notepad and began to write music,’ she says. ‘And I’ve been doing that since.’

“Well, it’s not quite all of what she’s been doing since. She’s also a full-time psychotherapist. Blu works with children and families and teens ‘who are removed from their home due to abuse of some sort or due to their emotional disturbances,’ she says.

” ‘People ask me to choose [between music and therapy] and I cannot, I love them equally,’ she says. ‘Because you’re able to change lives both ways.’ ”

Here are some highlights of the interview.

” ‘I don’t want my people left behind. So, what’s happening [in Houston] right now is gentrification, in the worst way. They are pushing these people out. And there’s not many other options [of places] to go, because we don’t have a great public transportation system …

” ‘It’s upsetting a lot of us who have been in this community and are working in this community. And so even though I’m very happy about the diversity, what it also is doing is allowing people to come in with a bunch of money, throw money at some things, tear some things down, buy it out — and then leave the people who have been here stranded.’ …

” ‘My history is that my grandmother grew up in another neighborhood in Houston as well called Acres Homes. So living between Greenspoint and Acres Homes, which were rivals at the time when I was a kid by the way. So I would have to go to my grandmother’s house after school if my mother couldn’t be home from work.

” ‘And that was interesting because I was bullied — a lot. Because I’m too proper for the black kids and I’m not white enough for the white children, so I’m in a very awkward place. But still loving the culture of where I come from.

” ‘But my grandmother was also an activist. She was very influential in the war on drugs here in Houston. So … she would have me marching with her. So I get that from her.’ ”

More at NPR, here.

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Something fun from Studio 360: the mystery of the Toynbee tiles.

“For more than two decades, an unknown artist has been leaving a message in the streets of Philadelphia. The message is has been cut by hand into a linoleum tile, and pressed into the asphalt by the weight of passing cars. There are dozens of these around the city; old ones wear away, and new ones appear. The message is the same:

TOYNBEE IDEA
IN Kubrick’s 2001
RESURRECT DEAD
ON PLANET JUPITER

“The Toynbee tiles, as they’re called, have become a thing in Philly — you can even buy a t-shirt (the tiler isn’t getting royalties). For artists, the cryptic message inspires far-out forms of creativity, but perhaps nothing as ambitious as the ten-minute work by the rapper and ‘bedroom composer’ Raj Haldar, who performs as Lushlife.

“The work is in four parts, one for each line of the tiles’ message. By the end, the ‘Toynbee Suite’ has left behind anything resembling hip-hop, going out on a two-minute clarinet solo.

“But what exactly is the Toynbee message? Alfred Toynbee was a historian and philosopher of the 20th century, known for the 12-volume A Study of History. …

“A documentary film speculated that the tiler remained unseen by dropping the tiles from a car with cut-out floorboards.”

More on the mystery here, where you also can listen to the rapper’s tile-inspired music and check out a map showing where Toynbee tiles are located around Philadelphia.

Photo: Kimberly Blessing/flickr
A Toynbee Tile at 9th and Market Streets in Philadelphia, Pa.

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Catch this story on National Public Radio today?

Jake Scott, a math teacher and wrestling coach in Silver Spring, Maryland, draws students in with clever ways to memorize formulas.

“Keeping control of the class is one thing, but holding their attention through complicated calculations and theorems is another challenge altogether. So Scott gets a little extra help from his alter ego, 2 Pi.

“About three years ago, Scott started infusing rap into his lessons.”

He describes to NPR’s David Greene his early lack of success in school, his time on the streets, the help he received from taking up wrestling, and the reasons he eventually got into math.

” ‘You know, when my dad lost his sight, I started doing accounting for him, and math was the one area that I was able to succeed in,’ Scott says. ‘Because of my time in the streets, my vocabulary wasn’t very extensive, and so I shied away from English. I was bored to death by history. Math, on the other hand — I didn’t need to know how to speak well in order to do well in math, so that was very helpful, when I look back. It helped me to grow in my appreciation for numbers.’

“Scott says that one of his most important goals as a teacher is to make meaningful connections with his students. This drive to connect with the kids in his classroom influenced him to begin rapping as 2 Pi.

” ‘I mean, I think that we can preach to kids until they turn blue and we turn blue, but if there’s no connection, then there’s no response,’ Scott says. ‘I mean, I constantly search for ways to connect with students — with the language, with conversations, music.” Read more here.

 

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