As the son of two mental health experts, my family has provided supportive services to the Chicago community for over 60 combined years. While most knew me as a recording artist and music industry professional, I have always been inspired by my community and always felt like my voice was one that had trans-formative power. After several years as a touring musician, I decided that I wanted to go back to school and follow in my parents' footsteps of helping empower others (specifically those in urban communities) as a cutting edge social scientist. After two years at the University of Southern California's School of Social Work, I've added the title of MSW to my repertoire and have started doctoral work at Northwestern University in the School of Communication. Aside from forming the Brainiac Project (see section above) and providing programming for individuals and families in at risk communities, I also provide consulting services for dozens of consumer product corporations and educational entities in the areas of diversity, marketing to The New General Market and education reform. As a Hip Hop Scholar, my interests involve the cultural impact of hip hop music via new media, the relationship of social and emotional development of urban youth to their "media diets" and how urban youth utilize music creation to curate their "public self" and form self image. Additionally, I am fascinated by how participatory culture and social media helps ignite cultural youth movements. I have expertise in hip hop culture, mental health, sports and popular culture. Currently, I am pursuing a ethnographic study on Foundations of Music, a community organization in Chicago that's utilizing digital media and music creation for innovative intervention strategies with urban youth. Ultimately, I would like to help the African American community through scholarship and use my investigation of digital media programs as a way to activate resources for under-served communities.
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