Heal Black: Healing Through Hip Hop
Heal Black is an after school program in St. Louis, MO in partnership with Pamoja Prep Academy, Carr Lane, and Sumner High School during the 2019 school year. The program is rooted in using the mechanisms of hip-hop as a tool of redirection and higher learning. We include curriculum that addresses trauma through music therapy. Our students will be educated on the elements of hip-hop, lyrical analysis, language, and creative writing. Students learn critical thinking skills to re-define their self-image.
The ability to teach and learn through the positive elements of hip-hop allows students to be engaged through original and innovative concepts. Heal Black addresses mental health and psychology, through the medium of hip-hop and activity-centered therapy.
Aza Njeri is a St. Louis based mental health professional, griot, author, award winning- filmmaker, educator, and second-generation Hip hop recording artist who uses Hip Hop to inspire and heal the masses. She earned a B.S. in psychology from the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, where she studied under African scholars that groomed her to appreciate self knowledge and enlightenment. Aza is the author of Hip Hop, You Saved my Life, a workbook to aid self-discovery and a companion memoir, Hip Hop, You Saved My Life: Black Girl Narrative. Her writing style is raw, hip, poignant and compassionate. Aza believes we all have a story but lack the courage to share. She is dedicated to healing arts, and her independent research in complex trauma and expressive art therapy has lead her to facilitate healing circles, professional training workshops and lectures around the country.
brandon alexander williams
Born in Maywood and raised in Peoria, Illinois, Brandon Alexander Williams is a poet, MC and DJ. He is the most recent recipient of the Grant Wood Fellowship and is a visiting instructor at the University of Iowa’s School of Music where he teaches courses in Hip-Hop. Williams is an alumnus of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where he produced “The Yard: An A’Capella/Hip-Hop Musical”. As an active MC and DJ, he has performed and taught throughout the country, produced eight albums, published two books and given several guest lectures and keynotes centered around art-integrated education.