Amplify Dallas Will Teach Students Writing, Storytelling Through the Lens of Hip-hop

When Chancelor Bennett, better known as Chance the Rapper, got suspended from a Chicago high school, he got in the booth at the Chicago Public Library and recorded his debut mixtape, 10 Day.Chance’s origin story inspired Taylor Toynes, the founder of local nonprofit For Oak Cliff. And now, Toynes’ organization and other partners across the city want to help young people in Dallas channel their own creativity through hip-hop culture.“A lot of times, people talk about student voice. ‘How do we get student voice?’ Well, let them speak in a language that they’re used to,” Toynes said.That’s where Amplify Dallas comes in. Amplify is a new four-week summer program organized by For Oak Cliff, the University of North Texas at Dallas and The Dallas Morning News. Volunteers will teach local students about the history of hip-hop and connect it with the craft of writing and storytelling.The students will meet every Saturday, from July 8 through July 29. At the end of the program, the participants will record their own music and perform it live at the third annual For Oak Cliff back-to-school festival at Glendale Park on Aug. 12.Jackson Cole, a college intern at For Oak Cliff, said the goal is to use hip-hop to help hone practical skills. Amplify will help students figure out: “How do I craft a personal narrative?” Cole said. “How do I write a creative intro to a song through something that’s interesting and [use] it to educate?”Kaillou Greco, 15, is going to participate in Amplify. “Rap, in particular, it’s telling a story,” Kaillou said. “Kids say they want to be a rapper but they don’t know how to write the lyrics, or write the song.”  Continue reading...

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