Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Educators & Artists Say NO to the N-Word & Cursing for Teen Open Mic!

Digital Lyricist XChange Opens its Doors to South Los Angeles Youth Looking to Develop Their Talents in Hip Hop and Creative Writing

Los Angeles, July, 2011 – This summer, L.A. youth seeking a way to develop their talent will have a new place to call home.  The Digital Lyricist XChange, a Friday night open mic and talent search where teens between the ages of 13-18 can express themselves through rap, poetry, singing, and creative writing, will host its first session on Friday, August 5, 2011 from 6 to 11 pm. Located in South Los Angeles, where such a venue is sorely needed, this MONTHLY event will fill a void left by a crumbling state budget that doesn’t place the arts on their list of priorities.

Dr. Shani Byard, who has a history of community activism through her organization, Message Media EdSchool of Black Leadership in the Digital Age, is excited about this new venture.  “Digital Lyricist XChange will allow us to offer a healthy, creative space -- free from the negativity we are used to hearing and observing in the media -- for young people to build their voices related to social issues affecting them, their families and neighborhoods. No drugs, cursing or use of the n-word allowed. We look forward to coaching and developing their performance skills as well”, she says. 

With Hip Hop culture and music being the dominant voice in today’s youth culture, it made sense to use Hip Hop as the primary medium of expression.  To that aim, the facilitators chosen for the role of leading the sessions all have experience in Hip Hop and education: Brother J, Founder of the Legendary Hip Hop group X Clan and Board Member of Message Media Ed, Sebastien Elkouby, Hip Hop educator for Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program, A-Ski, DJ and producer, Mark Anthony Benson, Hip Hop historian, educator, and active mentor to foster youth, and Jason ‘MPRVS’ Johnson, musician, producer and educator.

Dr. Byard says, “Selecting the team of co-facilitators was extremely easy because we all strategically work toward transforming Hip Hop music and culture in some capacity. We have all worked in the record industry as well. We look forward to building media literate, young leaders, proud of their culture and heritage, ready to challenge the Hip Hop norm by bringing balance to such a powerful culture and lifestyle."

DIGITAL LYRICIST XCHANGE < - ADVANCE CREATIVITY - located at Message Media Ed, 4923 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA.  It will take place FIRST Fridays starting on Friday, August 5, 2011 from 6 to 11 pm.  Parents of youth under 18 are encouraged to sign up their children in advance.  The investment is $5 and snacks are included.  For more information and to RSVP, visit the Facebook page at: or call 323-708-2526.

About Message Media Ed

Message Media Ed – School of Black Leadership in the Digital Age < - ADVANCE, is designed to close the digital divide and increase leadership and innovation in the African American community of South Los Angeles: culturally conscious role models and meaningful participants in the digital landscape. This is achieved by providing supportive, engaging learning environments for increasing cultural awareness, leadership development and skill building in media literacy, social media and information technology for youth, adults and seniors. For more info, visit

Media Contact:
Joanne Griffith-Poplar

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