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Pens Up, Bars Down


How do we stop the violence in our community? We simply use music to help heal our students who have been suffering. This project will allow students to collaborate on a city-wide album and concert that addresses the violence in our communities using Hip Hop Based Education. Hip Hop Based Education (HHBE) provides new avenues for learning, predicated on self-awareness, expression, and critical thought.

While nested in the constructs of critical theory (Freire, 1970), culturally relevant pedagogy (Gay, 2000), and self-awareness (Emdin, 2010), HHBE is a relevant theory that seeks to bridge culturally relevant pedagogy (Emdin, 2010). and PUBD (Pens Up, Bars Down), will serve as a pathway by merging socio-emotional learning, Critical Literacy, and performance therapy to help our Louisville children who are most “at-promise”. Our youth will have the opportunity through PUBD to work with work with local engineers, local hip-hop artists, and beatmakers to make an album that the entire city can celebrate

Promote Unification and Education

Provide Hope

In order to decrease the violence in our city, we must heal our youth and give them alternatives to violence. Hip Hop has always been a great unifier of diverse populations and PUBD will provide Louisville youth an opportunity to meet other youth across the city by unifying them through the love of Hip Hop. Louisville youth will perform with one another and make music that unifies rather than divides. Participates will use hip hop to speak freely about their view on political or social issues and by doing so, engage them to become concerned and aware of these issues. This is important in making the youth aware of the world around them and the conditions they face in society, enabling individuals to discuss ways in which they can make a positive change within society. A few of the issues that hip hop has created awareness in are racial discrimination, individuality, and the importance of education and believing in your dreams. PUBD will also serve as a reflection of the soul and mind and will be a solace for the participants and listeners who may be struggling with the same issues.

Provide Entertainment

Provide Support

This year especially, our youth have been bombarded with images of violence and a worldwide pandemic that has heightened their struggles growing up in their communities. PUBD would provide Louisville youth an outlet to tell their stories on their own terms and give hope and healing to our Louisville community.

PUBD will showcase our talented youth and how they are able to use their words to create change along with vivid storylines that relate to their urban life and subject matter. Each song created during PUBD will be showcased on an album that will entertain and serve as a tangible reminder of the work our youth-created during PUBD. On July 3rd participants will perform in a citywide exhibition that showcases their art. Not only will ALL participants perform but they will perform with local hip hop artists as well.

When dealing with social problems, PUBD will be a tool that provides a solution to the problem by making others within our Louisville community aware of it. PUBD will facilitate that process and provide mentorship to local youth through a partnership between local hip-hop artists. Youth will partner with local artists to write songs for a Louisville-based album and concert to be held on July 3rd. PUBD will bring a message to the masses. A message of hope and healing for youth that can use writing and perform for healing capabilities. PUBD will be the first of its kind in our city and provide an alternative to violence, drug use, or other criminal activity, that our youth can easily find themselves in for the summer.

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