Events, Hip Hop, Literacy -

"Literacy and Hip Hop" - March 16th, 2019: San Francisco, CA

Thank you for joining us at:

"Literacy and Hip Hop"

Our Literacy and Hip Hop event at the Fillmore Heritage Center was a fabulous family event.  It was hosted by Ms. Kim Caldwell, the creator and host of the online "Kim Caldwell Show" and public announcer, Mr. James Earl Rockefeller III, also know as the "Voice above the Room." Nearly 70 children ranging from two to ten years old drew, wrote stories and haiku poems, played with puppets, blew bubbles, and enjoyed interacting with their facilitators.  Most of the facilitators were middle and high school students who had been trained to work with younger children for this event.  Research suggests that this is a wonderful and productive way to help both the older and the younger children learn to enjoy reading activities and work together. We also had wonderful adult volunteer facilitators work in the Kids Zone so that the ratio of children to facilitator was a low 1:3.  The mission of the facilitator was to engage their children and make each of them feel special and empowered. The children also enjoyed dancing, healthy snacks and meeting other children from across the bay area. The Village Project's Emanyatta Saturday School brought over 20 children from the Monterey Bay area to join the festivities.


While the children were having fun with the facilitators their parents, older students and other participants viewed a shortened version of Shomari Smith's film, 'Til Infinity. Shomari Smith is a multidimensional artist. He takes advantage of every form of media to express himself. Born and raised in Oakland, Shomari developed a knack for capturing moments while working for the Oakland Unified School district’s public access tv channel. He majored in illustration while attending the California College of Arts. Shomari’s first love is drawing and he considers it his all-time favorite form of expression. He is also a photographer, videographer, and graphic designer. Today, we feature Shomari’s talent via his film, ‘Til infinity, a documentary celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the critically acclaimed Souls of Mischief album, 93 ‘Til Infinity. After the film the audience was able to have a brief question and answer session with Shomari before being introduced to a dynamic panel  addressing literacy and hip hop.  The panelist shared their experiences and insights.  All panelist were well known Bay Area educators very familiar with hip hop/spoken word.  The panel included:


Panel Host – Davey D 

Davey D is a nationally recognized journalist, adjunct professor, hip-hop historian, syndicated talk show host, radio programmer, producer, DJ, and media and community activist. Davey D moved from New York to California to go to school at U.C. Berkeley where he started DJing throughout the Bay Area. His mobile DJ company, the NY-LA Connection, was a mainstay on the U.C. Berkeley campus. He is the co-founder and host of several of the most cited hip-hop radio and online news journalism projects of all time. Hard Knock Radio (HKR) is an award-winning daily syndicated primetime afternoon show focusing on hip-hop culture and politics. One of the first of its kind, the show originated in 1999 on KPFA 94.1 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now can be heard in Seattle, Atlanta, Portland, and Fresno, and is streamed live on Davey D is the proud father of two young children and remains a true community activist.

Panelist – Mistah F.A.B.

Stanley Petey Cox is best known as Mistah F.A.B. He is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, community organizer, and activist. After gaining national and international acclaim for his rapping expertise, he launched his own imprint, Faeva Afta Music, in 2008. Mistah F.A.B. has been known as one of the most prominent and colorful figures of the San Francisco Bay Area since the late 2000s — and he is sometimes hailed as the scene's "Crown Prince.” F.A.B.'s community activism and philanthropic efforts have been highly visible throughout the years. Most notably, he hosts and organizes annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaways, backpack and school supply drives, holiday toys events, and various charitable events benefiting those fighting cancer and domestic violence. Former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan declared Saturday, February 8, 2014, "Stanley Cox aka Mistah F.A.B. Day," in recognition of Mistah F.A.B.’s work in the community.


Panelist – Dr. César A. Cruz

Dr. César Cruz has dedicated his life to fighting for justice. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México, he migrated to the U.S. at a young age with a single mother and grandmother. He grew up in South Central L.A. and moved to the Bay Area to study. César graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a B.A. in history. For the last decade, he has overseen the Homies Empowerment Program serving gang-impacted/-involved youth in Oakland, CA, and is now turning it into a full-fledged high school scheduled to open in the fall of 2020. Author of two books, Revenge of the Illegal Alien and Bang for Freedom, he received his doctorate in educational leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, becoming the first Mexican immigrant male to do so. He is the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service, and is considered by the Christian Science Monitor as one of America's 30 Education Thought Leaders. He is the proud father of three children.

 Panelist – Tajai Massey

Tajai Massey is one of the four founding members of Souls of Mischief and is part of Oakland’s Hieroglyphics collective. Souls of Mischief formed in high school before releasing their debut album, 93 ‘Til Infinity, on Jive Records in 1993. Tajai graduated from Stanford with a degree in anthropology, got his masters in architecture from U.C. Berkeley, and has contributed to all six Souls of Mischief albums, as well as the three Hieroglyphics studio albums. He has also produced or performed on solo projects of various Hieroglyphics' members, and is currently part of Rap Noir along with Justin Herman. Each Labor Day has been officially declared Hiero Day in Oakland, where the Hieroglyphics crew hosts thousands of people who enjoy various music artists and vendors celebrating the diversity and talent in Oakland. Tajai currently serves on the board of Akira’s Book Club and is the proud father of two daughters.

Evaluations of the event by participants indicated they truly enjoyed this family affair, loved seeing the film, and learned something new. The event was from 1 - 3:30 and the biggest complaint was that they would have liked even more time. Thank you to all of the volunteers and participants that made this a very successful event.