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Lansing Hip Hop Academy Declares 2021 “Landmark Year”

All of the Above Hip Hop Academy is using expressions found in Hip Hop culture such as beat-making, rhyme writing, breaking, graffiti art, and DJ'ing to inspire Lansing youth. They’ve also been an important partner to our recently-opened Capital City Market, even putting on performances at our store, and we’re pleased to support their ongoing efforts.

With the support of Meijer, academy Director Ozay Moore says 2021 was a “landmark year” for the organization in terms of bringing new programming to Lansing-area youth. Our investment in the academy has given the organization the opportunity to strengthen its administrative team, develop community partnerships and expand programming, which includes the launch of the young adults mentoring program AYO this year and pilot DJ’ing classes.


 

“It was an investment that gave us the ability to take crucial next steps in sustaining our work and impact,” said Ozay, adding that the retailer’s support is a “game-changing investment into the work.”

Ozay is certainly right about one thing – 2021 was a big year at the academy. That’s when the group expanded its Beats and Rhymes Sessions (B.A.R.S.) and Breaking 101 classes, and piloted Graffiti 101 and DJ’ing classes.

The weekly Breaking 101 class teaches youth the history, philosophy, techniques and movements of breaking. Our funding provides scholarships for all of the academy’s participants making the program free to the public. It supports an instructor to facilitate dynamic In-person classes at Foster Community Center and the necessary technology to offer families a virtual option.

After a successful pilot last year, the DJ’ing classes will expand in 2022 with more free sessions, thanks to the purchase of DJ controllers and other tech the students can use. As part of this training, the academy hosts a weekly event in Lansing's Reo Town called "Beats and Brewers" where participants show off their skills and perform for patrons at the Blue Owl Coffee Shop. Early in the pandemic, AOTA developed  "Quality Control" a monthly event streamed live on Twitch, (a video live streaming service) that provided youth an opportunity to DJ while venues weren't hosting events.

The academy also partnered with Muralmatics, which creates large-scale indoor and outdoor murals, to provide a hands-on experience in learning the fundamental techniques of graffiti art.

“We are able to meet the socio-emotional, creative and communal needs of youth in our city. By being the strongest community partner we can be, we are able to connect youth to a variety of services, resources, career opportunities, experiences and supporters,” Ozay said.

“In the community, [All of the Above is] working hard to be a great voice in Lansing and promote the right things for the youth they are working with,” said Robert LajCaj, Capital City Market Store Manager, who has partnered with the group over the last year.

Academy students are sharing what they have learned with the community. They performed at the Lansing Juneteenth celebration, monthly Capital City Cyphers breakdancing sessions, the Youth Summer Showcase and even at our Capital City Market’s one-year anniversary party.

We’re proud to support such an incredible organization.

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