Creative Director (Arts, Culture, & Heritage)
Hip Hop University
1. What are you doing towards Digital Inclusion in Charlotte?
Hip Hop University is a non-profit that works to bring culturally relevant educational content to the Hip Hop community. We do this by infusing educational curriculum with a Hip Hop context and by hosting culturally relevant community edutainment events for a Hip Hop-oriented audience. At Hip Hop University we understand that technology in the home and truly understanding how to use it beyond the level of passive consumer is key, especially when tackling the soci-economic mobility issues impacting Charlotte’s low-income community.
We hosted the Digital Hip Hop Conference in Summer ‘16 (July 29-30th). This two-day digital conference targeted two segments of Hip Hop University’s target audience—the young professionals & the youth with their parents. The Tech + Hip Hop Symposium was a think tank event that gathered information from a community brain trust to learn strategies and methods about how to accomplish our technology initiatives within the Hip Hop University imprint. The Digital Hip Hop Summit was a digital inclusion focused community edutainment event that paired digital literacy workshops with a Hip Hop cookout. The cookout provided live social conscious hip hop entertainment and free food to celebrate the digital content they just learned in the workshops they attended.
The two-day Digital Hip Hop Conference allowed Hip Hop University to find our newly appointed Technology Director Gurtej Singh. We now have a sector of the non-profit totally devoted to digital inclusion initiatives and programming. The conference also allowed us to build strong connections with many Charlotte organizations focused on solving the digital divide in our city.
2. Why are you working towards Digital Inclusion in Charlotte?
Hip Hop University sees technology access and intermediate to advanced level digital literacy for youth, young adults, and underemployed young professionals as a method to help increase soci-economic mobility for those that self-identify with being a member of Hip Hop Culture.
3. What does a digitally connected community look like to you?
To me, a digitally connected community looks like a culturally, ethnically and gender diverse, thriving digital entrepreneurial community. For me, a person having technology in the home is not enough. For me, people using technology as a consumer is not enough. For a community to truly be digitally connected, all members of the community must understand how to use technology to better themselves and the community in which they dwell. A digitally connected community has a robust and diverse constituency that is contributing to society both intellectually and economically thanks to their connection to and understanding of technology.