A message by The M.I.A. Campaign
MIAMI, FL – From the outcry of slam poet Jasmine Mann to Dee 1’s lyrical plea to 50 Cent, Lil’ Wayne, and Jay-Z, the stage has been set for a new era where artists and entertainers are being held accountable for the messages they send. Given the current state of Hip Hop culture, it can be seen as a necessary move if the community itself seeks to advance. But along with the critique of music, media, and cultural habits that have a negative impact, we also have to highlight, promote and bring to the forefront entities, and ideas that reflect the direct opposite. Understanding the need to collectively utilize the power of the arts for good, a groundbreaking movement has emerged to unite artists, activists, and educators in a mass campaign of positive messages and images.
The movement is called The MIA (Music Is Alive) Campaign, a national task force stressing to artists that they can’t be ‘missing in action’ and that it is now time to unify as a conscientious voice of uplift through music, media, mentorship and beyond. The campaign was inspired by the 2001 address of Minister Louis Farrakhan to the Hip Hop community where he called for the acceptance of responsibility on the part of artists. Sister Arian Muhammad goes further into the vision of the campaign stating, “It’s time to stand as a collective force to combat negative images that are promoting ignorance and moral decay. We have to use our gifts to help reverse the effects, first, by understanding the power of art and our influence as artists, then using that influence as a means to educate and inspire a thirst for knowledge. Ignorance is prevailing, and ignorance is darkness when what we need is light.”
Consisting of a group of artists, and educators from various parts of the country, The MIA Music Is Alive campaign was officially launched October 29th 2010 at the 7th annual Organic Hip Hop Conference in Miami, Florida. The Organic Hip Hop Conference, which was co-founded by veteran Miami-Dade educator Tony Muhammad, and has attracted many people across different genres who seek to promote Hip Hop as a culture and force that can positively transform lives. The scope of the conference has historically been oriented towards teaching the Hip Hop generation the value of what the Hon. Elijah Muhammad coined as “How to Eat to Live,” through a culturally relatable medium of expression.
The highlight of the conference this year was a teacher workshop held at Florida International University in which campaign founder Sister Arian Muhammad and Internationally recognized Hip Hop artist Jasiri X demonstrated how to incorporate the empowering voice of Hip Hop in the day to day classroom experience to 50 Miami-Dade County Public School teachers. Other presenters included elementary school educator Nicole Kelly, P.A.T.H. (Preserving, Archiving and Teaching Hip Hop History) founder Brimstone 127 and writer/ film producer Jeff Carroll.
Tony Muhammad comments, “This was an excellent launch to the National Campaign! Why not teach and train teachers how to incorporate Hip Hop into the curriculum? Teachers nowadays are in the best position to effectively have young people critically analyze the current music and fashion trends that they partake in. The new standard must come from and through a paradigm shift in education. Artists must play an integral role in this paradigm shift as mentors and through service to complete the process.”
MIA Campaign members are looking to organize with youth and artists nation-wide to take part in educational conferences in various cities. For more information on the MIA campaign visit http://www.miacampaign.wordpress.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can become involved in your city.