It’s been said that hiphop is the most influential cultural movement of the past fifty years. But as the once-marginalized genre has achieved worldwide commercial success, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that hiphop was born out of the creativity of young people taking the tools of cultural production into their own hands. And many youth music organizations around the country still embody that community-focused spirit.
Among the more innovative organizations we’ve encountered is Denver Colorado’s Youth on Record, which takes a dynamic and deeply engaged approach to music education. A nonprofit organization founded in 2008 by members of Denver hiphop and rock band Flobots, Youth on Record has evolved into a music education powerhouse, providing young people in Denver with opportunities for mentorship and self-expression. Using a curriculum that goes beyond music fundamentals, production techniques, and lyric writing to directly engage with social problems, Youth on Record has created partnerships with Denver Public Schools, with an emphasis on reaching young people that more traditional approaches may leave behind.
Youth on Record’s strategy of connecting public institutions with culturally relevant musicians to achieve public policy goals doesn’t end with the public schools. Youth on Record has also collaborated with Denver’s Housing Authority on a youth media studio located on Denver’s East Side. And by employing working musicians with deep connections to the local community as educators, Youth on Record is able to support artists and support underserved youth at the same time.
We’re delighted to be honoring Youth On Record at our 2014 Future of Music Honors event, and equally delighted to welcome Youth On Record’s Performance Director and Lead Instructor Molina Speaks to perform at the event. A critically acclaimed poet, performer, and recording artist, he’ll be joining an amazing lineup of performers that includes Ceci Batista, Shawn King of Devotchka, Damian Kulash of OK Go and many more. It all happens the evening of Monday, October 27 at The Hamilton Live here in DC.
Seats for this exclusive event are limited. Get your tickets today!