HERU: Teaching Context.
The context for our media literacy programming is youth self-empowerment and entrepreneurship. For us, the first fundamental act of self-love and empowerment is the intentional establishment and nurturing of a positive self-image, that is based on clearly defined principles and values.
(cover art: 9-year old hip hop artist Taneesha Fashion’s hit single “It’s Me”.)
Given the unique roles that pop-culture and entertainment media play in shaping the self-images and personalities of our young people, we start first by exposing young people to tools of media analysis and methods of message deconstruction. It is through this lens that our young people begin to realize the corporate origins and interests behind the myriad false cultural narratives and damning ethnic stereotypes oppressing the spirit and psyche of their communities.
Below is a piece of media documenting the creation and production of a hip hop media message speaking about the media’s influence on youth’s perceptions on underage drinking.
Once young people become aware of the roots and causes of the negative and self-destructive self-images that dominate the broadcasts, and compete for market share of their conscious thoughts, they are then empowered to choose positive points of inherent self-value over corporate media-implanted criminalistic behaviors.
For the HERU, entrepreneurship is the act of self-determination to create and access economic opportunities, based on one’s refined skill or talents. To that point- our young people are engaged to express their media literacy and activate their agency through the development of digital multimedia arts skills (record production, graphic design, photography, videography/editing, digital music composition) in workshop and professional project settings.
(pic above: 17-youth songwriting & vocal recording workshop, in studio)
The digital media arts allow our young people to nurture their positive self-images by creating media with which they can authentically tell their own stories and curate the many beautiful narratives of love and solidarity being written in their communities every day.
Below is a piece of media documenting a 19-year old HERU media mentor, recording vocals for his debut hip hop album “Kold as BRYCE”.
Developing our young people in digital media arts affords the community a new population of community-minded storytellers, sustainable imagemakers, and environmentally-just creative professionals.