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Legendary hip-hop artist and filmmaker RZA visited YOLA at HOLA students today.

Legendary hip-hop artist and filmmaker RZA visited YOLA at HOLA students today.

“Ready to give up, so I seek the old earth / Who explained working hard may help you maintain / To learn to overcome the heartaches and pain. / We got to stick up kids… Leave it up to me while I be living proof / To kick the truth to the young Black youth.”

Robert Diggs aka RZA shared one of his earliest songs entitled  “C.R.E.A.M.” with YOLA at HOLA kids yesterday. RZA (de facto leader of the Wu-Tang Clan) also watched the jazz band and orchestra perform, and talked to his fellow musicians about his art and career as a musician and filmmaker. He told the students that he was floored by their high level of technical skill and ability to read music, and that if they stayed on this path, many doors would be open to them in the music and film industries.

Raised in a 2-bedroom apartment shared by nineteen people in the Brooklyn projects, RZA was able to implore personal wisdom gained through struggle. As a music producer, multi-instrumentalist, author, hip-hop artist, actor, director, composer, and screenwriter, RZA had loads to impart on our youth about the power of their voices and how one can address social injustice through art. His message was one of hope, of finding a voice, and of the transformative power of music:

“I learned a lot from hardship. I guess the hardship and taking the goodness out of it…  You know, going through so much oppression and seeing it all around myself, I wanted to be a voice for it. And also to have a knowledge of myself, I realized that the word was powerful, and I could use this power to help enlighten others.”

In his new Brooklyn-set film, “Coco,” rapper Azealia Banks plays the title character as an aspiring hip-hop artist. Coco reluctantly puts her music dream on hold to finish college, thanks to her persuasive parents. Ryan Reed writes of the film in The Rolling Stone, “In a poetry class, she is transfixed by ‘the power of the spoken word,’ developing a verbal strength that ends up propelling her toward her rap goals.”

Other big names featured in the film are Common, Jill Scott and Lorraine Toussaint.

Thank you RZA for hanging out and sharing such a genuinely inspiring message to our budding musicians!

 

 
 
 

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