Free program looks to mentor tomorrow's hip-hop entrepreneurs

- For too many in inner cities their dreams of a career in hip hop are crushed by lack of access or lack of resources.  But FOX 29's Bill Anderson found a light at the end of the tunnel.

There’s a new program that’s teaching them to pursue their dreams even if society doesn’t understand them and this program is absolutely free because the founders want to empower these budding entrepreneurs #ForGoodnessSake.

Classes at The Institute of Hip Hop Entrepreneurship are only 2-weeks old so as BIll arrived he had no idea what to expect. 

They want to provide a different way of educating people from largely underserved communities, who are talented but not always comfortable with a traditional method of learning.

 “The community isn’t really welcoming to people who don’t come from means, who don’t have privilege essentially.  So how can you replicate dispersing knowledge in a way that speaks to a new generation of people,” Tayyib Smith explained.

Founded by Smith and Meegan Dennenberg, the institute provides a free 9-month weekend education series with classes, guest speakers, case studies all focusing on helping students develop their business ideas.  It's not about being a rapper but instructors teach that hip hop culture is influencing so much of society that the students should recognize the business opportunities it presents.

 “Is this kind of a way to get those people, who may not even realize that they have the potential to be leaders themselves, get them the skills that they need to be successful and assume positions of leadership,” Meegan explained, “In a lot of ways what was relevant hundreds of years ago or even thousands of years ago, isn’t relevant today to a lot of young men and women out there who learn very differently”

Several hundred applied a few dozen were accepted, and it was the passion of the students who helped me understand why hip hop culture is much more to them than just picking up a microphone. For them it’s a legitimate tool of empowerment that they want to learn how to use

“When people from these communities and from these areas can grow up to make billion dollar deals, its more than just kicking it with your posse, its carrying these folks with you to newer and better heights,” Stephen Tyson explained.

Stephen is an MC so his enthusiasm may be expected but Kyree works in IT and still recognizes the impact that speaking to people who celebrate not downplay hip hop culture has across industries.

 “You see now a lot of our moguls, Jay Z, Sean Combs, they have their own side businesses. You see them now talking with politicians.  Hillary Clinton had a concert with a lot of our famous hip hop icons to get people out their voting.  It's very relevant, you can't ignore it if you want to be successful,” Kyree said.

The Institute of Hip Hop Entrepreneurship is committed to developing the next leaders even if the come from underserved communities or lack a traditional academic background.  They’re doing it because it's important, they’re doing it because they believe those individuals are important.  They’re doing it #ForGoodnessSake. 

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