Doing Good In the Hood: John Forte is back

March 11, 2009 at 8:37 pm (Doing good in the hood, East Coast, Hip Hop, Music) (, , , , , )

forteAfter being pardoned from prison, former Fugees affiliate John Forte has hit the ground running. Starting on March 31, he will work as a teacher at The City College of New York where he will work as part of the outreach program “In Arms Reach”, a group designed to help children of incarcerated parents. Forte will be teaching music composition as a means of dealing with negativity.

“John hopes that the catharsis of song composition will help children deal with the stigma of having a family member who is incarcerated and rebuild the spirit of those who have been traumatized or abandoned,” a representative for Forte told about the course.

Forte had received 14 years for drug possession when he was caught with 31 pounds of liquid cocaine. He had served almost half of the sentence when president Bush gave him a pardon last November. He’s also active on the music front too, doing music with Kanye West and Talib Kweli. He is also in the studio working on a third studio album. It’s good to see him doing even more for society even after paying his debt to it. Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of Forte, and he’ll continue to look out for his community and make music. Heck, maybe he can even get back with Wyclef and them.


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Doing Good In The Hood: Jay-Z’s Trust Fund For Sean Bell’s Children

May 26, 2008 at 6:09 pm (Doing good in the hood, East Coast, Hip Hop, Music, Police Brutality, Politics) (, , , , )

Yeah, I know I’m late with this, but the real story is that something good has come out of the Sean Bell tragedy. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Sean Bell was gunned down by three plain clothes police officers the night before his wedding day. The three police officers were acquitted of all charges. While several rappers have voiced their disagreements with the verdict, some are doing even more. Rapper Jay-z has set up a stock-based trust fund for Sean Bell’s surviving children.  Jigga has already featured Sean’s widow in the Rocawear “I will not lose” ad campaign.  This is definitely a good look for Hova, and it’s nice to see someone care about survivors of police brutality.

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Doing Good In The Hood: RZA and The Hip Hop Chess Federation

April 13, 2008 at 7:19 pm (Doing good in the hood, Hip Hop, Music, Video Games) (, , , , , , , )

Rapping, producing, film scoring, acting, and now chess? Is there anything Bobby Digital CAN’T do? Wu Tang clan founder and producer Robert Diggs, a.k.a. “The RZA” was one of several hosts at this past Saturday’s “Martial Arts as a Path to Nonviolence” panel, which was one of the many activities that took place during the Hip Hop Chess Federation’s “Mind over Matter Chess and Grappling Exhibition”, which was held in Menlo Park, CA. He was joined by chess icon Josh Waitzkin and Mixed Martial Arts Champion Ralex Gracie as they discussed how practitioners of chess and the martial arts are trained in ways to avoid violence.

The Hip Hop Chess Federation was founded in 2007 by author and lecturer Adisa Banjoko and Leo Librian. Its purpose is to make use of martial arts, chess, and hip hop as a means to steer inner city youth away from nonviolence. Past events have included hip hop figures such as Immortal Technique, DJ QBert, and Bay area rapper San Quinn.

On a side note, Xbox Live players (well at least those who own the Xbox Live Arcade Game Chessmaster) can join the action and download new chess boards and even compete for various prizes.

Hip Hop Chess Federation

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Doing Good in The Hood: Cham says, “Don’t mess with Texas!”

April 6, 2008 at 5:54 pm (Doing good in the hood, Hip Hop, Music, The South)


First he cleaned up his music, now he’s cleaning up his community.  Rapper Chamillionarie is joining the “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-littering campaign alongside Corpus Christi designer Todd Oldham.  The campaign is aimed at people under 25.  Oldham donated specially designed litterbags which will be given out on the “Roc the Bag Tour”, which will make stops in 16 cities to help promote the initiative.  The campaign will be directed at malls, concerts, and other places where texas youth hang out.

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Doing Good In The Hood: Rappers and Thanksgiving Charities

November 22, 2007 at 10:47 pm (Doing good in the hood, Hip Hop, Music, The South, West Coast Rap)

I guess rappers aren’t such bad people after all. Of course you could have known that by reading some of the other articles on this site, but I digress. Thanksgiving is a time of year to spend with your family. Even though it’s supposed to be joyous, there are some who are disadvantaged economically, so they aren’t as able to enjoy today as much as others. Thankfully for them, the hip hop nation has recognized this, and several rappers are doing various things to help out the underprivileged in their communities.

ti.jpgTI, despite being on house arrest, is doing a lot this Thanksgiving to help out Atlanta. He donated 400 turkeys to needy families in Atlanta, helped raise over $150,000 (with the help of other celebrities such as Wyclef and Busta Rhymes) for the Hosea Williams “Feed the Hungry” foundation, and is hosting Thanksgiving dinner tonight at Atlanta’s Club Crucial from 6 – 9 pm. Despite what backpackers and haters may think, this act has nothing to do with his gun cases. He does a lot for ATL on a regular basis, and he and his uncle help rebuild houses for area residents.

ludacris.jpgHis formal rival Ludacris is also giving to Atlanta. Last Friday, the Ludacris foundation, ran by his mother Roberta Shields, hosted a turkey giveaway at New Piney Grove Baptist Church in Decatur, GA. They are also planning to host a Thanksgiving dinner for 450 of the area’s senior citizens. He’s been doing this for the past 5 years, while the Oprahs and Bill O’ Rielys have been blaming him for the downfall of American society.

chingy.jpgSt Louis Rapper Chingy has also been doing his thing this holiday season. Through his non-profit organization “Chingy for Change”, Chingy has been supplying Thanksgiving meals for less fortunate families in the St Louis area. A few months ago he recently gave away several scholarships to St Louis youth with the help of Hip hop pioneer Russell Simmons, and this year he plans to donate Christmas toys for the local boys and girl’s club. I don’t listen to Chingy, but it’s good to see him giving back to his community.

LA rapper Glasses Malone is also helping out on the westcoast. In what he said was the first of several initiatives to help improve conditions in the Ghetto, Glasses Malone hosted a turkey giveaway at music store “Vip Records”.

Seeing this stuff makes me wonder though…what are all these country and rock stars, who are supposed to be so much more better than us, doing to help out thier communities? Better what, what is Bill O’Riely doing to help out?

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Doing good in the hood: Master P’s Community Centers.

October 7, 2007 at 7:37 pm (Doing good in the hood, Hip Hop, Music, The South)

masterp.jpgAs of late, Master P has been one of the people jumping on the Don Imus “lets clean up or censor hip hop lyrics” bandwagon. But unlike other knee-jerked reactions from bourgeois talking heads in the black community (*cough*AlSharptonandJessieJackson*hack*), clergymen, soccer moms who know nothing about hip hop, and right-wing talk show hosts, P is actually being sincere about his efforts. Last month, Master P released Hip Hop History, an album done with his son Romeo that features no cursing or inappropriate lyrics. He and David Banner attended the congressional hearings on hip hop lyrics, and recently, Master P has announced his plans to build a series of youth centers in impoverished areas throughout several major cities throughout the US. The centers will feature gyms and libraries to benefit inner city youth. Even in bankruptcy, Master P is still doing his thing. It’s all about the tank though haters! UUUUUUUUGH!!!!!

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Doing Good in The Hood: David Banner taked 80 kids to Six Flags

July 21, 2007 at 5:40 pm (Doing good in the hood, Hip Hop, Music, Politics, The South)

davidbanner.jpgAs part of Jackson Mississippi’s Stewpot Neighborhood Children’s program, David Banner treated 80 kids to an all expenses paid trip to Six Flags over Georgia this past week. The rapper paid for food, t-shirts, and admission to the park, which is an annual trip that he has been sponsoring since 2005 with the intention of exposing kids from the neighborhood to different environments. The Stewpot Neighborhood Children’s program is a community organization which serves as an after school program and summer camp for at risk youth in Mississippi.

Big Ups to David Banner for doing this. He is probably one of the most humble rappers in the game and consistently gives back to his community. We need a lot more rappers like him in the game. Unfortunantely this probably won’t even make fox news, but that’s what this is for.

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Doing good in the hood: TI schools West Philly Youth.

June 12, 2007 at 3:19 pm (Doing good in the hood, Hip Hop, Music, The South) reports that TI recently spoke on the importance of staying in school at Harambee Charter School in West Philadelphia.

“Ain’t nothing lame, ain’t nothing punkish about being smart. Ain’t nothing punkish about being 25, 26, 28 and never had a run in with the law,” he stressed. “That don’t make you a punk man. That makes you a winner.”

That’s some words we all should live be, especially me. I had the luck of being raised by a decent family and not having to deal with the law. Now I’m getting to graduate school in a few months. For a 26 year old black male, that’s definently something. Oh BTW, buy his new album when it drops next month, because I have no doubt it will be bumping.

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Good in the Hood: Free HIV Concert featuring some of the south’s hottest

May 30, 2007 at 6:34 pm (Doing good in the hood, Hip Hop, The South) reports that Lil Wayne, Baby, UGK, and David Banner will be giving a free concert down in Houston Texas’s Reliant Arena on June 30th.  The concert, which is hosted by the Texstars Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to develop educational and leadership opportunities within the inner cities.  TO receive a ticket, concertgoers must attend a seminar on HIV and get themselves tested by the many staff members on site.  SO it may not seem much, but the AIDS epidemic is a big issue facing the African American community, as well as the rest of us, and it’s always good to see some steps being taken to combat it.  So if you live in the H-town, get yourself tested and check out a free concert.  Doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

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Doing good in the hood part 1: E-40 donates to former high school

April 19, 2007 at 2:39 pm (Bay Area, Doing good in the hood, Hip Hop, Music, Politics)

e40.jpgIt seems lately that the only time hip hop music is ever featured in the media is when something bad happens, or when some conservative talking head wishes to place blame upon it for society’s ills.  Very rarely will you see stories about rappers doing good things for their communities on Fox News, CNN, or CBS, so that’s what this new section is for.

We get it started off right with my man E-40, who donated $12,000 to his former high school so they can purchase new band equipment.

The donation comes a year after much of Hogan High’s band equipment was destroyed after the school was vandalized.

Despite the damage, the drum line went on to become champions.

After hearing about the vandalization and the band’s determination to continue playing, E-40 contacted Tina Jamias, the Hogan High drum instructor, with an offer to help and a request for a wish list. 

With all the hubub over the Don Imus controversy and hip hop’s alleged role in it, it’s easy to ignore the good that rappers do for their communities, but that’s what this is for.  I hope to have to update this very frequently.

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