Hip-Hop, Mentors, & Poets

These introductory inspriational words were from DC poet, spoken word artist, activist, musician, and educator Bomani Armah, who hosted our most recent mentoring session, and set the tone for a wonderful experience for students and mentees alike.

15 April 2016 | News

It’s exciting when you do creative writing…
Inspiration igniting ideas like lightning...
In a poem or song, don’t worry which word belongs
Your opinion is impossible to get wrong…
Writers don’t make mistakes we make discoveries

The mentors and mentees in the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy Parkside’s Mentoring Program had a unique opportunity to engage an experiential learning writing workshop where ‘theories learned in school’ met ‘practice’ in the professional world of creative writing.

One of the highlights of his presentation was Bomani’s performance of his hit single “The Hustle.”  Students and mentors were then asked to dissect and analyze the song.  Utilizing literary techniques and devices, participants identified the song’s main idea, details and supporting elements as well as visuals and complementary effects that enhanced the impact of the poem.

Bomani Armah then guided the group in writing a poem that could be presented as spoken word piece or a song.  The topic was to reflect each individual’s life story, using their own words and experiences. Mentees and mentors rapped, sang, and/or recited their original creation to the group.  To maintain the flow of creative energy between writing sessions and eating pizza, mentors and mentees all joined in a sprited round of freeze break dance tag!

As a finale to the session,  the participants created a group sonnet about the Mentor Foundation and their experiences in the program. Mentees Kyree Sampson, Santos Iglesiais, Kenya Dyer, and Hamirah Jones were instrumental in penning the sonnet whose lines included “…being here at the Mentor Foundation helps us build skills, network, set goals, and have fun with caring mentors”.   Roberto Borgia, a mentor, offered his insight to mentoring noting that he “..welcomes an adjustment in (his) life schedule in order to help others”.   Mentors and mentees concluded the writing workshop on Wednesday April 20th, 2016 where they produced their final version of the Mentor Foundation theme song!  We are all looking forward to future mentoring sessions to see what creative collaboration they bring not only to students but to their mentors.