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UCLA Magazine Summer 2004
Of God and Blue-Footed Boobies
The Providential Scholar
Of the Community, By the Community, For the Community
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Summer 2004
Of the Community, By the Community,
For the Community
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The ultimate goal of the project, called J.U.i.C.E. from Concentrate, is to develop a manual on how to duplicate the program in other neighborhoods, Executive Director Dawn Smith says. She says she has received letters and e-mails from people in Compton, Lincoln Heights and Hollywood — as well as from other parts of the country — asking for tips on how to start similar programs.

Smith founded J.U.i.C.E. in 2001 as an outgrowth of her work as a counselor to youths at juvenile halls. "I don't want to imply that they all said, 'Start a hip-hop community center.' . . . (But) L.A. has tons of community centers that are run by adults but are not providing activities on the level that youth can identify with," she says.

She says her program has served more than 3,000 people, with about 100 attending each Thursday-evening drop-in at the church. Facilitators, funded in part by an earlier grant from UCLA, informally instruct participants in the hip-hop arts.

Smith's UCLA faculty partner for the project is Cheryl L. Keyes, an associate professor of ethnomusicology who specializes in hip-hop culture. "It's going to be a more sociological study in order to assess which areas in greater Los Angeles could possibly benefit from something like J.U.i.C.E.," says Keyes, author of the book Rap Music and Street Consciousness.

Smith and Keyes emphasize that there's much more to hip-hop than the rap music that has been popularized in the mainstream media, which tends to be more profane and misogynistic than the variety preferred at J.U.i.C.E. "Rap is something you do and hip-hop is something you live," says Keyes, paraphrasing hip-hopper KRS-One. "It's a culture. It's an attitude."

P.H.

Susan Chapman is assistant director of executive communications; Pamela Corante is associate director in the Office of Media Relations; Phil Hampton is a senior media relations officer.

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