The Beats, Rhymes and Life Film Project documents nine young artists from Oakland participating in a six-month Hip Hop music therapy workshop where they use the safe space and medium of music to engage in self-reflection and create a supportive community. The participants process their emotions in response to their present realities by writing, performing, and discussing each others’ revealing personal lyrics. The filmed workshop, recording sessions, final performance, and supplemental interviews reveal the challenges specific Oakland youth face while uncovering the resiliency they draw upon and cultivate in a shared artistic experience. The film will demonstrate the potential youth have to examine, and give voice to their experience while contributing a powerful work of art to Oakland’s cultural environment and diverse community.
This film serves to instill its viewers with a deeper understanding of the strength, potential, and creativity of Oakland’s young burgeoning artists. The film participants exemplify the innovative spirit unique to Oakland as they draw from the city’s rich social justice history and artistic values to create distinct art in their own words. The stories of the film's youth, as narrated through music, will function as a point of connection that resonates with viewers by illustrating the intersection of youth culture, art, urban life, and diverse ethnic and gender backgrounds. Through Hip Hop music, an art form created by youth culture in generations before, the film’s young artists highlight important social issues crucial to Oakland and the Bay Area, which inspire critical thinking and serve as a catalyst for dialogue.
The film's youth witness firsthand the devastating and traumatic effects endemic to many urban communities, nevertheless, they support one another and use music as an artistic tool to educate others, build self-confidence and cultivate intimate relationships. By proactively shaping their lives, the youth take steps to realize their dreams of developing as artists, and to build sustainable communities as they transition into adulthood. Their collective experience, as captured on film, provides a sense of hope and change that fosters humanity in our ever-changing global community.