Bloomington-Normal youth learn to understand complex emotions through hip-hop


The young people of Bloomington-Normal have the opportunity to understand and process complex emotions through hip-hop music.

One way to understand the spirit of this project is to go back to the late director of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. Tina Salamone liked to say “when you know what it is to create, you are less likely to destroy”.

“This is extremely deep and extremely true,” said Angelique Racki, executive director of the nonprofit BCAI School of Arts based in Bloomington. It is located across from the BCPA. Racki said the school follows the same philosophy that Salamone promoted.

“She’s the reason we have our space here at the Creativity Center. She definitely believed in us and trusted us, that’s what we do, and we had a very aligned vision for this community, ”Racki said.

One of BCAI’s projects primarily engages middle and high school aged children in creating hip-hop music.

“And then venture out to see where they contribute to that culture,” Racki said. “Once you feel like you’re actually contributing, it’s a whole new sense of confidence… of movement… you have this new boldness of movement. “

Dawson Patty-G’Sell is a student at Normal Community High School and one of the students who participated in this song called “Get Right”. He amplified Salamona’s mantra that positive things can come from concentrated energy.

“I feel like with all the energy I had, I couldn’t do anything with it,” Patty-G’Sell said. “If I had never done this, I probably would have been in the same place I had never been and I didn’t really know what to do.

Racki said the song project exposes students to different facets of hip-hop: host, DJ, language, entrepreneurship and knowledge, and that the six-week sessions are designed to educate students for them and for them. their value within the culture they love. , and present opportunities to use that value to transform their world. His Chicago collaborator added that hip-hop culture is more than music.

” It’s the fashion. It’s the way you walk, the way you talk. It is a culture in itself. You see hip-hop in a lot of different things. Movies, pop culture, things of that nature. And there’s no race to that, ”said Daniel“ D. Son ”Moore, founder of The Stay Relentless Life & Hip Hop Initiative in Chicago and one of seven artists from central Illinois and Chicago to supervise the children of the project. . His school has a mission similar to BCAI. Moore said that he and Racki had known each other for some time and when the opportunity to collaborate on this project arose…

“We both kind of jumped on it. Because I was finalizing my non-profit organization. And since then we’ve been working hard for the kids in Bloomington and hopefully doing something for the kids in Chicago as well. “

Patty-G’Sell was one of eight young people from Bloomington-Normal who contributed to the song. Racki said she and the mentors inspired the students to tap into their life experiences when creating lyrics.

“Things you want to say or wish you could say or could have said to teachers, other adults or parents. What would you like adults to know? And put them in lyrics, which teaches them how powerful art can be as a platform for expression, ”Racki said.

Parry-G’Sell took the nudge to express his frustration at being misunderstood.

“I just knew a lot of adults… whenever I didn’t speak, they would say that I try not to speak for attention, or that I just don’t speak because I’m hiding a secret. When they asked for the invite, that’s what I wanted to tell them. “

i may be there
But you would never notice
I have a lot to say
But i’m sweet

Dawson Patty-G’Sell from the song “Get Right”

The students also contributed to instrumental music. Racki said she worked with Bloomington engineer and producer Oliver Johnson, aka Ollie Bravo, to create the music. She said he asked the eight students what they wanted the track to sound like.

“And he and his genius were able to take the eight different complete sounds and put them into an instrument,” Racki said. “So you get gamer, Korean heavy metal, hip-hop, emo, rap… a whole bunch of different genres in one track. “

It’s a lot of creation and collaboration. For Racki, it’s personal and refers to Tina Salamone’s mantra

“When you know what it’s like to create, they’re less likely to destroy,” she said.

Racki’s program attracts young people who feel misunderstood. Those whose personality and temperament, she says, may exceed the expectations of the cookie-cutter society. She said that many of these children need to hear from an adult that they are understood.

“So you feel safe enough to have access to those parts of you. And in this, you no longer feel the need to destroy anything because you feel that you really belong to something. Once you feel like that, the survival mode that kicks in is a lot less likely to happen, ”Racki said.

These words are music to Patty-G’Sell’s ears.

“Most of the things that are going on publicly that are difficult to overcome… I get help here. And basically everything I’m going through and being able to turn all that emotion into creativity and… greatness, ”said Patty-G’Sell.

You can listen to the song “Get Right” in its entirety on Spotify and Bandcamp. You can download it from iTunes and Google Play.


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