The WE CAN Foundation will host the Allensworth “Scat to Rap” Family Music Festival celebrating all the genres of Black music and African rhythms, including Blues, Gospel, Jazz, BeBop, DooWop, R&B and conscious Hip Hop. The festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 10, and activities will begin at 11 a.m. at the Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park in Tulare County.
The program will include all-day live stage performances of music ensembles to oral narratives, spoken word and dramatic presentations, food, arts and crafts vendors/exhibitors, children’s activities, and oral history narratives by member of the Buffalo Soldiers and the African American Genealogical Society. The program will also celebrate the legacy of rapper Tupac Shakur.
The purpose of the festival is to fund-raise for agencies supporting the needs and providing services to “emancipated” youth–that is, youth aging out of the foster care system.
“We are a collaboration of various organizations and businesses coming together to address social issues pertaining diverse youths. One of our main focuses is addressing the dilemma of emancipated youth. The objective of assisting emancipated youths is to introduce them to life skills, educational and economical tools and a cultural sense of awareness and belonging,” said C. Eziokwo Washington, vice president of the WE CAN Foundation.
According to the E. Michael Foster, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, youth face many changes and challenges as they move into adulthood, and for those who have been involved in various social welfare systems, these changes can be even more profound. Roughly 20,000 youth in a given year age out of foster care and are on their own, often with limited family ties.
Nearly 38,000 youth age 17-20 are in residential placement for juvenile offenses, and a large proportion of those face a release plan with diminishing amounts of supervision after a stretch of highly structured living.
“We are doing this event for three main reasons: to generate funds for emancipated youth, to bring all generations together through song, and to bring people [to Allensworth], in addition to teaching them, about the historical value of Allensworth,” said Washington. “There are 738,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and only 86,000 of them are Black. Then 69 percent those Black students are in the foster care system.”
“These youth are facing a lot of obstacles after aging out of the system, and many of them are ending up in the prison system because of a lack of choices and opportunity. With this event there will be funds raised to help assist these youth, as well and giving people an artistic and educational outlet for expression. Overall, we also hope to turn the entire event into a documentary. There are going to be numerous artists and genres of music, and with the Buffalo Soldiers and other historical organizations that are going to be doing lectures and demonstrations, it is going to be a very informative event. The hope is that it can be submitted to the Pan African Film Festival and Cannes next year,” said Washington.
Washington feels that the documentary will help to get out an unfragmented image of the African American community. On many major news networks and in film the Black community is portrayed negatively. “I want people to see the complete image of us,” he said. “If we won’t start working together, protecting and assisting our youth and enriching our communities we are on our way to becoming a permanent underclass.”
Washington believes that the event, in addition to helping these emancipated youth, will start a much needed dialogue is the African American community.
Tickets for the Allensworth Scat to Rap are $15 and there are eight buses providing transportation to and from the event. For more information, visit the website at http://doo-wop2hiphop.com or call (323) 293-9845.