With history being made with Hiphop & Books this week, Conversations Book Club & TRU Publishing are glad to see the national media taking notice of our campaign to encourage staying in school and the importance of reading.
READ ARTICLE ONLINE HERE: http://www.sixshot.com/articles/10926/
Pull Up The People: Hip-Hop & Literacy Project
Reading is a fundamental skill that many within the nation's urban communities are not equipped with or fail to practice. The Conversations Book Club & C-Murder's TRU Publishing recognize the issue of illiteracy and are conducting a 25-state Hip-Hop & Books Tour. The tour begins this Saturday, April 26th.
The project begins in Mississippi and will travel throughout the United States. Tour stops will be hosted by Cyrus A. Webb (President of The Conversations Book Club), with entertainment from rising rap artists Trill, G-Money, and Lil' Half Ounce. You can also expect special guests including C-Murder and Jacki-O on select tour dates.
Sixshot caught up with Trill, G-Money, and Lil' Half Ounce to discuss the need for literacy, lack of mainstream media support for positive hip-hop causes, the books that changed their lives, and more.
What inspired you all to become part of the hip-hop and books tour?
Trill: This gives me the opportunity to expand my music to different areas and states as well as promote these books. Both of them go hand in hand. So it's just two birds with one stone for me.
G-Money: I was inspired by the chance to get to different states and let them get a feel for my music; at the same time to talk to the youth and put the word out there. Some people think that hip-hop music is a bad influence so we want to encourage something positive.
Lil' Half Ounce: I think the tour is gonna help expand our visibility. Most artists don't think to try and do something to give back to the kids. Every kid got to have a dream but some people dream small. If you're gonna dream, dream big. A lot of kids drop out of school to do hip-hop thinking that they're gonna be the next artist, but they don't know what the industry requires.
Hip-hop now requires so much. The labels require you to rotate on so many different stations; so you need education in business and management. I majored in computer science and switched to mass communications. So this gives us an opportunity to save lives and keep kids from coming out of school.
In your observations and experiences what do you find to be the main causes of illiteracy in urban communities?
Trill: Reading is not being promoted as something that the kids need to do. These kids don't feel like reading is important. So it takes somebody who they look up to, to let them feel like reading is cool or it is important.
Lil' Half Ounce: I think that everybody talks about all the places they donate to, but you have to see where they put their money at. There hasn't been enough giving back. I think Atlanta is doing well because they support their community; they get the younger kids involved. So the hip-hop community needs to reach out more.
Trill: I don't feel like in Mississippi we support one another as well as we need to. They will support another state quicker than their own and that's hustling backwards to me.
The media often focuses solely on the negative news from hip-hop and rarely covers the positive stories. So have you received enough mainstream support from the media for this cause?
G-Money: Not at all! I feel like the money twists things up. I ain't gon' sugarcoat it but the thing that they dothe media doesn't put that out. So all the kids know is about hip-hop artists going to jail. You see the news and every time you hear something about a hip-hop artistthey doing this and that. But they don't talk about the good that they doso the kids really don't know.
Lil' Half Ounce: I see these young kids in urban communities with guns. When I was young I grew up in [the] projects and we had guns; but I was smart enough to say that I'm not gonna do the same things my boys did. I tell kids that you can brighten your future. Don't dwell on what happened in the past.
What is the one book that has changed each one of your lives?
Lil' Half Ounce: Death around the Corner and The Adventures of the Ghetto Family by Kwame. Death around the Corner paints a picture of my life.
I can picture myself as the character in the book and I have friends like those in the book. With Kwame's book it taught me that you never know what the future holds. So I don't make plans; I deliver by faith.
Trill: The Art of War. It's taught me that life is not checkers; its chess and at all times you need to know what your next move is.
G-Money: The Bible. It allows me to look at things in a whole different way of how I carry myself in life; how I treat people; and it gives me so much more humility.
At the end of the tour what are you hoping to leave people with?
Trill: I hope that it keeps more kids in school, saves some lives, and inspires people to be better people in whatever they choose to do. I also want them to know that whatever you do it takes hard work. Many people don't see the hard work it takes to get there and people need to know it takes a lot of hard work. It can be done but you have to be focused, positive, and surround yourself with those types of people.
G-Money: I hope that people pull away from the negative activity and get involved in the community. I want to see more after school programs. So after we do our music we will do a speech and let them know to be educated. If you want to do music you need to read the contract so you got to educate yourself on reading and language.