Milwaukee's non-profit True Skool is trying to change the perception of hip hop culture — one student at a time. It offers education in urban arts, including songwriting and music production, break dance, and graffiti art. Last weekend, it hit the streets for its bi-annual block party.
"If you look around, you'll see young people doing great, positive things," said Sarah Dollhausen, founder and executive director of True Skool. "It's about recalling those negative images, and being able to provide and show how young people can be an asset to our community."
Hundreds of people packed the parking lot at the Warehouse Nightclub in Walker's Point for a day of music, food, and children's activities, all with the focus of recalling the negative images are associated with young people and hip hop.
"True Skool's mission is really about providing arts education, but with a focus on social justice and community service," Dollhausen said.
One of the ways True Skool is changing the hip hop culture is in the songwriting. Educators at True Skool challenge young people to dig deeper with their lyrics and eliminate the violent and profane content.
"I say to them, 'do you want your Mom to hear this?' and if you don't, then rethink what you're writing," Dollhausen said.
"There's so many different words to use that they don't really have to cuss. They're able to use their minds more, they're able to figure out metaphors and similes and double entendres," she added.
Beyond songwriting, True Skool offers formal education in other urban artforms at its Milwaukee office. Visit its official website for more information.
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