By Andie Lowenstein
Kanye West is spreading the love in his hometown this summer. The multi-platinum rapper and fellow Chicagoan Rhymefest have teamed up to launch an extensive music writing and production course for at-risk youth on Chicago’s South Side. West’s non-profit organization Donda’s House – founded in honor of his deceased mother Dr. Donda West – and the ARK of St. Sabina community center, will kick off the event in August.
The 10-week program, titled ‘Got Bars,’ will educate kids 15-24 on how to write and record their own music as well as help them to develop problem-solving skills. The youth will also learn about the benefits of eating well, working out and other life skills.
The Chi-Town rapper credits his mother’s passion for teaching as his inspiration behind the program. “My mom spent her life as an educator and I am happy Donda’s House can pick up the torch and honor her life’s mission,” West said in a statement early last week.
Donda’s House co-founder and assistant director, Che “Rhymefest” Smith, will help his wife Donnie Smith with the overall operations of the program. Donnie Smith, a high school English teacher will serve as executive director of the program while Rhymefest will work directly with the students on the musical and production aspects.
“I am so happy to launch “Got Bars” to honor Kanye West’s mother’s memory and to fulfill one of my Alder manic campaign goals,” Rhymefest said in a statement. “Got Bars” will change our youth musically, get them healthy and keep them busy in a creative, peaceful environment.”
Participants will also produce an original piece of music that will be recorded, published and performed, with the program set to release an EP featuring their songs. Applications for “Got Bars” will be accepted until Friday, August 2.