According to the Los Angeles Times, Compton native and acclaimed hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar has won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his 2017 album “Damn.” It is the first time work outside of the classical and jazz genres has been recognized in that category.
In today’s announcement, the Pulitzer board described the album as a “virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African American life.”
“Damn,” released on April 14, 2017, is Lamar’s fourth studio album following 2015’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” 2012’s “good kid, m.A.A.d city” and “Section.80,” released in 2011. In January “Damn” won the Grammy for best rap album and was among the nominees for album of the year.
Dr. Dre has pledged to donate $10 million to help build a performing arts complex at the new Compton High School, the Compton Unified School District. “My goal is to provide kids with the kind of tools and learning they deserve,” Dre said in a statement. “The performing arts center will be a place for young people to be creative in a way that will help further their education and positively define their future.”
The complex will provide students with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, including digital media production facilities and a 1,200-seat theater. The performing arts center will also be a resource for the Compton community at large, officials say. The hip-hop mogul and Compton native will be directly involved in raising the remaining funds needed to complete the center, which is expected to break ground by 2020.
“The support that Dre has shown to Compton over the years is unwavering and we are so excited that we will now be home to one of the greatest performing arts centers in the country,” said Satra Zurita, president of Compton Unified’s governing board of trustees. Micah Ali, vice chairman of the district’s board of education, said the new high school will be the most modern public school complex ever built.
Raised By Krump, a 22-minute documentary film that explores the Compton/South Central, Los Angeles-born dance movement “Krumping,” and the lives of some of the area’s most influential and prolific dancers, is making its exclusive, worldwide debut as a #staffpickpremiere on Vimeo today, May 24th.
Raised by Krump blends the art of movement, music, and personal interviews together to tell the story of finding solace within an underground movement and the community that it creates. The film, directed by award winning filmmaker Maceo Frost, focuses on how Krumping has helped young people deal with the emotional issues that come with growing up in one of L.A.’s toughest neighborhoods — a place where showing emotion is often considered a sign of weakness.
Perhaps most notably depicted in David LaChappelle’s documentary Rize, Krumping came to be via Tommy the Clown, who invented the dance movement “Clowning” in response to the happy façade he depicted when performing as a clown at childrens’ parties. Clowning, and eventually Krumping, allowed the dancers to express the everyday struggles of living in their neighborhoods.
Raised by Krump shows the next evolution after Rize. In the film, the dancers explain that they are who they are today because of the dance movement. Instead of joining a gang or turning to violence, they turned to movement, dance, and self-expression, and passed this ability on to their children and others’ children, creating a more creatively-stimulated younger generation. Krumping founders Tight-Eyez and Marquisa “Miss Prissy” Gardner – who were also featured in Rize – are in this film as well. They are older, wiser, and have experienced the full impact that Krumping has had on their lives.
As Miss Prissy says in the documentary, “I think Krump symbolizes every piece of what we went through growing up in our neighborhoods, from being chased by gangbangers to being harassed by the police for just being who we are and what we are. It was about us going through the shit that we just couldn’t control anymore, and I feel that’s what birthed Krump.”
Or as Tight Eyez plainly puts it, “We make the ugly part of our lives beautiful. We make it good.”
Frost’s film is also visually arresting, featuring a mesmerizing ebb and flow of movement, almost forming a visual poem about Krumping.
According to nbclosangeles.com, 17 year-old Elijah Christopher DeVaughn – known to family and friends as “E-Jayy” – recently found out he was accepted into Harvard University after applying as an early action candidate.
E-Jayy was raised for 13 years primarily by his mother Sherree DeVaughn, a teacher, while his father was in a federal penitentiary. E-Jayy, who commutes 45 minutes to the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, CA (where he earns straight As in all AP courses as he attends on scholarship) said his rough Compton upbringing motivated him to succeed. “I think that struggle – it ignites a fire under you to want to work hard and to want to do more.”
To see video of E-Jayy and learn more of his story click here. And if you really want to support this impressive young man and his future, do like I did and go to his GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/fromcompton2harvardand make a donation to help him pay for expenses at Harvard that financial aid and scholarships won’t cover, such as travel, books, winter clothes, etc.
Venus Williams and Serena Williams may travel the world playing the game they love, but they never forget about their home, Compton, California. The two are giving back to their hometown through the launch of the Yetunde Price Resource Center.
Named after their eldest sister, who was killed as a result of gun violence, the center will connect residents who have been affected by violence to service providers. The center will develop custom plans and function as a liaison between the residents of Compton and the agencies that are there to help them.
Mayor Aja Brown said of the center’s opening:
“This is an incredible investment and commitment by Serena and Venus Williams, and I commend them for their desire to help children and families in Compton thrive. The resource center will serve as vital support to existing nonprofits and organizations that provide critical services to our community. I understand first-hand the power of partnership, and I am confident that the resource center will play a major role in breaking down silos in our community by facilitating key partnerships to increase asset leveraging and expanding the impact of services. The resource center will be able to map all of the resources in and around the Compton community while providing customized assistance that will be a vital asset to improving our ability to service our youth, adults and families.”
In addition to the resource center, Gatorade will refurbish two tennis courts and dedicate them to the Williams sisters. The courts will be unveiled during the Healthy Compton Community Festival on Saturday, November 12.
Compton native Isaiah Cooper made history earlier this month, when at 16 years old, he became the youngest black pilot to fly around the country. Now, he has farther lands to conquer as he hopes to fly around the world. In efforts to make this happen, rapper The Game is lending out a helping hand. Cooper has already started a GoFundMe page for financial support, but Game gave it an extra push when he shared it on his Instagram account.
A post shared by The Game (@losangelesconfidential) on
“I DONATED the 1st $1,000 & I’m up early & in a good supportive mood this morning & I hope you are too,” he wrote.
“So I will ask ALL MY FANS or just any person with a heart to pay it forward TODAY & DONATE any amount from as small as $1 to @aerosquad.zae #IsaiahCooper the youngest AFRICAN AMERICAN pilot to ever fly across AMERICA. He made the trip in 2 weeks & now has his mind set on being the youngest AFRICAN AMERICAN pilot to fly around the world when he’s 18 years old, the required age to be able to make the trip alone. This trip will have costs of things he will need to complete it, fuel, food equipment etc….. so PLEASE CLICK THE LINK IN MY BIO & DONATE ANYTHING you can to help him accomplish his dream,” he continued.
From helping single mothers buy groceries to raising awareness against police brutality, The Game has made it a point to help out those in need, and speak up on issues that truly matter. With that said, we hope we can see Isaiah all over the world. And as always, major kudos go to you Game.
*UPDATE: When this article was published, Cooper’s GoFundMe total was at $4,877. Click here to donate if you want to see this young man reach his goal to fly around the world.
A teenage pilot from Compton arrived home in Southern California on Monday, capping a flight across the nation in preparation for what he hopes will be a record-setting around-the-world trip.
Isaiah Cooper, 16, touched down at Compton airport (to see video, click here) after a roughly two-week flight around the country, becoming the youngest African American pilot to complete the cross-country flight. A flight instructor accompanied him.
Cooper’s 8,000-mile flight was not without difficulty. Bad weather forced him to make a hard landing that heavily damaged his original plane in Wyoming. “He was able to execute the emergency procedures flawlessly, got it on the road, landed, didn’t damage the houses, the schools, the construction crew, nothing. I mean, he got out of that thing safely,” said flight instructor Robin Petgrave.
But Cooper has a much larger goal. He hopes next year to become the youngest black pilot to fly around the world solo. He will be 18 years old when he takes off on the planned flight.
On a GoFundMe page, Cooper wrote that he began attending the youth aviation program at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton when he was 5, but he dropped out when he began spending time “with the wrong crowd” and doing “seriously self-destructive things.”
He said he hopes his attempt to break a world record will inspire other kids to turn their lives around and work to achieve their goals. “There’s a higher power that’s always there trying to have you focused so whatever you want to do, you can do it. Just put your mind to it,” Cooper said.
The city of Compton honored rapper Kendrick Lamar today by presenting him the key to the city. The ceremony honoring the Grammy Award winner who grew up in the city took place at 10 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Monument at Civic Center Plaza.
“Kendrick Lamar is a phenomenal artist whose work has served as a catalyst to raise a new level of consciousness for this generation,” said Compton MayorAja Brown in a statement. “His message challenges the status quo and motivates listeners to rethink our society’s institutions.”
Last year, Lamar wrote a love letter to Compton through his music video “King Kunta,” featuring the rapper and his friends dancing through his hometown. The key to the city is Compton’s reply to that letter.
Lamar attended Centennial High School as a teenager, where he was a straight-A student, according to city officials. Last year, he served as the 63rd grand marshal of the Compton Christmas Parade. The “Kunta” video was filled with scenes from the city, including the Compton Swap Meet, also known as the Compton Fashion Center.
“Kendrick Lamar is one of Compton’s greatest ambassadors,” said City Councilwoman Janna Zurita. “We in Compton are proud of him because he is a symbol of what our city really is — a place where dreams can come true.”
Kendrick Lamar never forgets where he came from and is always giving props to Compton, California. Whether it’s through his community-service endeavors or always recognizing Compton in his songs, Lamar will remind you he’s Compton-proud every chance he gets. And now the city is showing how proud it is of him.
Compton Mayor Aja Brown announced on Twitter that Lamar will be given the key to the city. Brown expressed how the rapper inspires everyone in Compton and shared positive sentiments about him:
A 28-year-old single mother of three boys graduated from UCLA with three degrees. A packed house at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion cheered for Deanna Jordan Friday night.
“I needed for my sons to see there was a legacy that preceded them with college. I am the first in my family to go to college,” Jordan said.
Jordan grew up in Compton. After high school, she got pregnant at 18. She had her third son at 22. “I had him and in the hospital I remember thinking, ‘I’m 22, there’s no future unless I can create one,’” Jordan said.
After two years at West Los Angeles Community College and three-and-a-half years at UCLA, the department scholar is graduating with two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s in African-American Studies. “She had limited time, plus she took the initiative,” said Dale Tatum, a UCLA lecturer.
Jordan also founded the Compton Pipeline Taskforce—she and UCLA volunteers work on academics at Compton schools, including Carver Elementary, where she attended.
“I saw the difference in how my boys were in school in Brentwood and then how schools were in Compton where I came from,” she said.
Jordan credits family support and UCLA for making her dreams a reality. “You can’t really succeed unless you fail, and I failed a lot of times, but it was my persistence and my willingness never to give up,” she said.
Jordan, who also works in the Compton mayor’s office, plans to take a year off before she heads to law school. She plans on becoming a district attorney.