BRONZEVILLE — Can music keep kids safe — off the streets?
That's the hope of a new nonprofit started by rapper Add-2, whose real name is Andre Daniels.
Daniels, 30, grew up in West Englewood and now lives in Chatham. The musician, rapper and lyricist said he knows the direction young boys and teens will take if they don’t receive the right kind of love.
“I want to keep them here, and this way I can help them grow and give them that love that they may get outside in negative ways,” Daniels said. “If I can give it to them in a positive way, then maybe I can change their life, and this subsequently will change the community.”
A lot of children who are hurting, but don’t realize it, he said. Growing up he was the only boy on his block with a father in his life. He said he realized early on that he was blessed, and he said writing music helped him find refuge from gangs, drugs and poverty.
He has performed with The Roots and appeared on Mtv2, MtvU, Fuse, Hot97 and Shade 45.
"He is somebody who seems like he really cares about the culture and cares about uplifting people, and that's inspirational to see," said Common, according to Add-2's website.
Daniels decided as a young adult he would set aside time to give back to the community and mentor. Working with organizations like the Common Ground Foundation and Guitars Over Guns has allowed him to be that positive male role model not every boy gets, he said.
Now with his first nonprofit, Haven Studio, opening its doors in mid-July, Daniels said he can combine both of his passions — music and mentoring. He will use empty basement space at Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist, 4622 S. King Drive.
“A lot of them love music,” he said. "They want to be rappers, they want to be producers. We can show them the ins and outs of how to establish a career, but also we can keep them off the streets at the same time.”
He added: “If we eliminate the need for them to get money so they can be in the studio, then it’s like now we have you for these set of hours and you have an incentive to be here because it’s helping your career, but also we’re keeping you off the streets at the same time."
The organization will teach teens between the ages of 14-18 how to produce music, record music and perform. They will have space to put on concerts.
The music mentoring program will also bring in guest speakers such as community leaders, rappers, musicians and more to talk to the teens. They will participate in community service and take cooking classes. They even have a space to play basketball.
Daniels said he wants to turn his space into a safe space that gives them everything they need so they aren’t looking for love and validation in the streets.
He is still seeking donations of money or music equipment. For more information on the program or to donate, contact Gogohavenstudio@gmail.com.
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