Connecting Youth Through Hip Hop
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CONNECTING YOUTH THROUGH HIP HOP

The Hip Hop Transformation (THHT) is an award-winning program for youth between the ages of 14-18 offered by the Cambridge Community Center in partnership with The Bridge Sound and Stage, the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program, and the Cambridge Safety Net Collaborative. THHT teaches teens the history of hip hop culture, the role hip hop culture plays in their lives and society, and equips students with the resource and support to produce, write, record, perform, and distribute their own authentic hip hop music.

THHT is made possible through generous contributions from community members, local businesses, and foundations including The Boston Foundation’s Shout Syndicate Fund and the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s YouthReach Program.

 
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Testimonials

Growing up, I realized that I wasn’t talented at everything like some other kids. I didn’t excel at sports nor was I good at singing, dancing, or rapping. When I first joined THHT I had no idea what I was going to do, but I ended up learning how to D-Jay. As I was D-Jaying I created a brand for myself called “DriqueSide” with my fellow THHT members. It was very catchy and it stuck. I started to get into event planning and with the help of THHT I was able to develop my skills and plan large events. In November, 2016 with the help of RbR Productions and the Cambridge Community Center (CCC), I threw my first official event called RedZone in the CCC gym, which attracted around 700 people. After that event I realized that I had found my true calling. I had found something that I was good at. I wouldn’t have found my talent if it wasn’t for THHT and I am truly grateful for that. THHT transformed my life — and gave me memories that I am going to have until I die — in only 7 weeks.
— Andrique Fleurimond, 2016 THHT Alumni; Founder/CEO of DriqueSide
My experience with THHT was very enlightening and raised my self-awareness. It taught me that there are so many ways to express yourself in the culture of hip hop and it brought me a lot closer to who I’m supposed to be as an artist. Being put in professional spaces through THHT and having those tools to work with is what brought me to where I am now creatively.
— Tashawn Taylor, 2015 THHT alumni
The staff at THHT have encouraged our children to be creative, step out of their comfort zones, be responsible/held accountable for their actions, punctuality and how to be/continue to be a team player. They go above and beyond to ensure their kids (yes, I said “their kids”, because they spend just as much time with them as their parents do!), get their homework done, get help with school-work if needed, have someone to talk to, and are using their time in a healthy and productive way. I do not know too many children that want to go to work, but I can attest that my daughter did! She was excited every day to be the best she could be and reaped the benefits of her hard work! GREAT JOB to all staff going out of their way to keep this program alive and growing! You may not realize it, but you all have created a safe-space for our kids to express themselves. You have allowed them to make healthy relationships with teachers, police, and counselors. THANK YOU!
— Aimee Corcoran, Parent of a THHT Student
THHT wasn’t my first musical experience but it was my first professional music experience. I came in with my own sound and THHT helped me build it to be even stronger than I knew it could be. From performing to recording to just writing everyday, it helped me build my own unique platform for myself. Without THHT I wouldn’t have gone as hard as I did at 18 years old. THHT showed me that no matter what your age, you can live out your dreams! This program is perfect for kids who have the wildest dreams related to music. You will feel at home and you will surely grow during your time in the program. Take it from me, this opportunity isn’t everywhere! Take advantage!
— Kaeci "KAE" Cooper, 2016 THHT Alumni
 

Who We Are:

The Hip Hop Transformation (THHT) is a year-round program, offered by the Cambridge Community Center that teaches teens the history of hip hop culture, the role it plays in their lives and in society as a whole, and equips teens with the skill set to produce write, record, perform, and distribute their own authentic hip hop music. Our program culture is one that revolves around authenticity, creativity, and connection to one another. Within this culture youth are held accountable not just by the adults working with them, but also by their peers who are collaborating with them to create the best final product possible for the community. The accountability, collaboration, and leadership skills that the youth receive mirror many of the 21st Century Skills that young people need to prepare themselves for a career.

THHT works to dispel myths and rumors about what hip hop is and return hip hop culture to its founding roots - before major record labels invested in it and turned it into something it was never meant to be. What young people hear on the radio and in mainstream media today is far from the politically-charged, socially-empowering hip hop music from the 70s and early 80s.

Our students are artists, but they are also activists. We call our performances outreach events for authentic hip hop. We make sure our music is appropriate for all ages, so young children can listen to what authentic hip hop should sound like without their parents worrying about the messages they may be receiving through the music. We do not call our program a "positive" hip hop program - we prefer the word "authentic". Life isn't always positive and THHT gives young people a chance to use their authentic voice to express whatever it is they are feeling - positive or not - and be heard.