Archive for July, 2012

Gateway to Science- Progression

Monday, July 30th, 2012

The dynamic duo, FluEnt Flows and Randy McFly, sharing a laugh

So we are heading into our fourth week of Gateway to Science, and a lot of positive progress has been made. The five lyricists: FluEnt Flowz, Kyle Carter, Randy Mc Fly, Hype Man Rome, and Bry-sone, have summed up their bars for two 5th grade science oriented hip hop singles. Last week the crew recorded their hot songs and added the finishing touches. Now this upcoming week consists of creating a descriptive and culturally relevant video to match the songs. With a sneak peak of the singles, I can insure you that what the Gateway Crew has stirred up is super fresh. Keep an eye out for the completion of the video!

Bry-Sone and Hype Man Rome getting their science on in the new back office

Legend Keith Cross providing creative, spiritual and intellectual guidance

SF TMP: Last Day of the Research Phase!

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

This Tuesday was an extremely eventful day here at TMP San Francisco! Since we are nearing the conclusion of our research phase, we thought we would end the first half of TMP with a bang. Students met and interviewed Judge Edward M. Chen, United States District Judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and visited the San Francisco headquarters of Twitter!

Judge Chen, after having overcome many obstacles, has been in office for over a decade and, as a result, had life experiences that truly fascinated both the students and staff. We were able to visit his courtroom and hear him discuss how the judicial system, contrary to popular belief, often works in ways that empowers and supports the expression of individual voice. Since becoming the first Chinese-American judge on the federal bench in Northern California, Judge Chen has been deeply committed to representing those whose voices may not have been heard throughout history. For example, Chen was heavily involved in the 1983 case of Fred Korematsu vs. the United States, which granted reparations for many Japanese-Americans as well as a formal apology from the US government for wrongly imprisoning thousands of families.

Judge Chen discussing voice and the judiciary system.

MMAP students and staff with Judge Chen in his courtroom

While that would have been a fine time to end our research on voice, we could not forget to visit a company that is known worldwide for the “voice tools” it provides. Visiting Twitter was one that we will never forget! In class, we have been continually discussing how technology and the Internet provide a forum for our voices to be heard and considered; Twitter does just that. With Twitter staff members, students discussed how individuals became spokespeople for social change, simply by tweeting. Nowadays, you do not have to be famous to make a difference; that is what voice is all about!

Student Trevor Kelly discussing voice with Twitter staff on their rooftop garden. #winning

The gang on the Twitter rooftop!

Tomorrow, San Francisco begins the expression phase. We are thrilled to see how these interviews and site visits have inspired our students!

Spread the Love in the Community

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Open Studios at MMAP

Open Studios at MMAP has grown exponentially over the past three weeks.  The first week, we had around ten students, the second week a little over twenty, and now we’re at nearly fifty participants.  To accommodate the large number of students, we created multiple stations of different projects led by different instructors.  We have had a graffiti station, a guitar station, a mosaic station, and a character drawing station.  One of our goals for Open Studios is to reach out and engage the surrounding community through art; MMAP is becoming a place where people can gather, and a community is definitely forming at Open Studios.  This past week several parents stayed for the program, and it seemed to be a bonding experience between parents and young children.  Children could move freely between stations, and we had a barbecue going to illuminate a party atmosphere and make it more of an event rather than a class.

MMAP Intern Martin Godinez sharing his love for guitar

Open Studios BGCP (Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula)  is finishing up its second-to-last week with mosaic stepping stones, which will be on display in the MMAP garden.  Last week we did a great dynamic exercise with music where the students were asked to draw what they visualized through the music they were hearing.  We began with basic sounds and progressed into music genres.  MMAP intern Martin Godinez even got up and played live guitar for the class to finish off the week of drawing and painting through music. All students are really expanding their creativity and are exploring new kinds of art over the course of Open Studios.

Visualizing through Music Project

How Can We Use Our Voices to Make Schools Better?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Students, with speaker Demetric Sanders, presenting their ideas for making schools better and high school drop out rates lessen

While quality art and community outreach are foundational principles for MMAP, entrepreneurship and professional development are important to us! Yesterday at TMP SF, we were fortunate enough to have MMAP leader Demetric Sanders as an interviewee. His background, entrepreneurial skills, along with his wealth of knowledge on public speaking were inspiring for the students.

The focus of the day was “how can we use our voice in schools?” and “how can we decrease the amount of high schoolers dropping out?” With 12% of high schoolers dropping out in San Francisco, this is a subject that effects San Franciscans from all walks of life. With guidance from Demetric and other staff members, students created plans and organizations that respond to this outrageous percentage and brought their ideas to the streets!

TMP students created mock organizations with goals, mission statements, pitches, and much more. One group called “DREAM” would catch incoming freshmen and ensure that they begin to think about what they would like to major in while in college and how they can apply their interests, whatever they may be, to academics. This would get young students thinking about college early, all while being true to their own personal interests. Another group called “AFFA” (Afterschool Field Trips for All) would supplement traditional class curriculum with regular field trips that get students out of the classroom, interacting with the community, and exploring their own interests. Students then took to the streets to tell very responsive and supportive San Franciscans about their ideas and goals to make school a better experience for all!

Students Geoffrey Simpson and Trevor Kelly speaking with a woman about their "DREAM" program that helps younger high schoolers discover a major for college.

It is certain that understanding the many different and unique voices of our students makes us better educators and mentors!

Gateway to Science- The Genesis

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Last week we jump started our new exciting Gateway to Science cohort right here in East Palo Alto. Gateway to Science is part of a research project extending from Stanford University that seeks to explore the use of new literacy in science. On the Mural Music & Art side of the research, we will be creatively crafting this new scientific literature in the form of hip-hop. The MMAP team consists of Keith Cross, Demetric Sanders, and new intern Steven Shepard as the instructors/creative consultants. Our MMAP lyricists are familiar faces Fluent Flowz, Bry-sone, Hype Man Rome, Kyle, and Isaiah. Content was the main focus of the first week of the program and the crew engaged in didactic sessions that taught the urinary and digestive systems of the human body – 5th grade science standards- to our lyricists on the project. Now that our lyricists are equipped with the knowledge they are ready to start constructing their bars in a culturally relevant fashion. Stay tuned for the progression of this hot project!

Big Plans with Isaiah and Keith Cross

Kyle, Hype Man Romes, Bry-sone

Bringing the HHH Spirit to Gateway; Kyle and Adrian front row with E-40, Tunde and Future

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Speaking the Truth

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Hip hop is more than just music – it serves as a vehicle for social change that empowers and educates our youth. In our TMP East Palo Alto class on Monday, our TMP youth had the privilege of interviewing two prominent hip hop scholars and “OGs” (Original Geniuses): Jeff Chang, Executive Director at the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford, and H. Samy Alim, renowned Professor in the Social Sciences, Humanities and Interdisciplinary Policy Studies in Education.

Jeff Chang and H. Samy Alim

Professor Alim spoke on hip hop’s ability to create global connections and to provide a voice to institutionally silenced people and communities:

“. . . when Chang was talking about the riots of ‘92, and in his 2005 book [Can’t Stop Won’t Stop], you have a huge portion on Ice Cube’s raps, and the media didn’t realize that all of the stuff, the tension, and the negative and positive was already being talked about on the record. And that same year, Paris had some riots, same exact scenario. So you have people of color, largely from Africa, trying to make a life and be accepted into French society but being treated the same way we’re being treated here, and when people went ballistic on Paris, we went, ‘oh this hip hop is trying to tell us something.’ And hip hop has played that role. Marginalized young people have been speaking out through hip hop. And I think hip hop has . . . given us [people of color] an avenue to share that voice.”

Hip hop continues to break borders and connect communities with an understanding of similar struggles. From East Palo Alto to Oakland to Philadelphia to Syria and Senegal, youth are sharing their voice.

As the TMP students are in the midst of the research phase and interviewing key players like Chang and Alim, they are simultaneously processing what they are learning through artistic expression. Jeff Chang spoke the truth by stating:

“I believe that arts can produce social justice by creating new imagination for ways that society can be, and I believe that artists are the key to social change. And all of that I got through hip hop, ‘cause hip hop in a lot of ways changed my whole way of looking at the world.”

Through the process of reflection and sharing their ideas, the students are doing just what Chang speaks to: imagining a new societal paradigm that fits all people’s dreams and needs. The first vision comes with education . . . MY EDUCATION.


H. Samy Alim with TMP Students

Hip Hop and Voice: TMP SF!

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

This week in San Francisco TMP has been formative and particularly creative! As we continue our research on “voice”, we have been able to investigate other artists like rappers Common, Nas, and Lupe Fiasco. On Tuesday, students focused on songs by these artists that express their triumphs and struggles, through storytelling. Students were able to talk about how hip-hop is an underground art form that continually critiques the happenings of the outside world. Through their own amazing lyrical talents, TMP SF students were able to respond to powerful songs and ask themselves “how might hip-hop, as an art form, give voice to otherwise silent people”?

Roylee (far right) sharing J. Cole lyric and discussing the impact of hip hop on the youth.

Student Roylee Quitana and others, felt a certain connection with songs like “Corners” by Common feat. Kanye West and “Bridging the Gap” by Nas. Quitana pointed out both the power of the imagery each song creates and that hip-hop has become a force in the way young people relate to their surroundings and find connections to their peers. When presenting, Roy even quoted a song by popular hip-hop artist J. Cole regarding how rappers often become the voice for many people who have been silenced. So many compelling connections are being made between the students’ own form of expression and voice.

We are so excited for what lays ahead and the connections they will make!

Alexander Calder Inspired Open Studios

Monday, July 9th, 2012
This week we are kicking off our second session of Open Studios at MMAP with a younger group of students. Last Monday students brought great energy and positivity to their work.  We began with some gesture drawing (link:  and single line portrait drawing exercises.  After a variety of full body and portrait drawing exercises using abstract techniques we created our final pieces which converted one of their drawing exercises into a larger scale collage (link: The students worked with newspaper, construction paper, and tissue paper to color in their line drawings.

At the Boys and Girls Club we finished off our third week of the program.  We spent last week completing our wire sculptures inspired by sculptor Alexander Calder (link:  These sculptures varied from abstract mobiles to facial portraits and monkeys swinging from trees.  On Thursday, the pieces were displayed at the Boys and Girls Club mid-summer showcase.

Julian, 12th Grader, constructing his Calder inspired horse

More on TMP San Francisco!

Friday, July 6th, 2012

While we all enjoyed our Wednesday July 4th holiday, there was no stopping our TMP San Francisco group from coming the next day with some great holiday stories, and, more importantly, some fantastic ideas involving voice.

Sparked by the controversial documentary “American Blackout” directed by Ian Inaba, our SF students explored how democracy is meant to empower and give agency to American people. The documentary covered the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections; the ways in which the voice of the people may have been ignored by government officials and people of congress during these elections; and how outrage, collaboration, and knowledge of their rights are extremely powerful elements when getting their voices heard. Needless to say, the film created a long conversation between staff and students revolving around how our voices alone may be ignored, but by collaborating with others and using creative venues to speak our minds, we can overcome injustices we may face. During Tuesday’s share out, Student Kian Randall wrote the following in response to “American Blackout”:

Through the eyes
of us all
As our heart
begin to fall
their tryna tell
us lies
try to take away
our rights
So we have
to fight
let the rain
wash away
the pain
the bloodshed in
our tears
so that we can
no longer fear
take action
Express your passion
No more good bye’s
a more hi’s
Come together
So we can make
things better.”

Thursday was also a huge milestone for our SF group. Yesterday, we were able to break up into our respective cohorts (visual arts, dance, and hip hop) and begin brainstorming for images, dance moves, and lyrics discussing voice! Our share out at the end of our Thursday class was amazing. The hip hop cohort’s share out included many students who were completely new to rapping; however, students like Toni Zachary, TMP veteran Jessie Tapafua, and new TMP student Trevor Kelly, all stepped up to the plate and came up with some impressive bars for the share out.

(Click below for a video of the share out and the students’ lyrics)

“What’s Your Vision of Success?” Hip Hop Cohort, TMP 2012

There are some truly amazing things coming and we can not wait to see what is in store for next week!