WATCH – TV ONE CHANGE AGENTS

I am honored to announce that I was selected as one of four filmmakers to produce a series for TV One’s Black History Month “Change Agents: History in the Making” series. 

Learn more about the full series here.

Learn more about our phenomenal change agents here

Tune in to TV One every weeknight beginning February 1st at 10:00 p.m. ET. Also check the TV One Site to view some of the series.

THANK YOU HIP HOP EDUCATION CENTER

Last night, my wife Donnie Smith & I were awarded the Courage Award at NYU’s Hip Hop Education Center’s Extra Credit Awards for our work with Donda’s House. All photos are by Terrence Jennings, please give photo credit if you repost. Thank you Martha Diaz and the entire Hip Hop Education Center Team. Also thank you to the sponsors including Wikiburg.

We need people to sign the petition to get Hip Hop Education in Public Schools. Please click here to sign. 

Thank you to everyone who presented awards & came out including our host M.K. Asante, Malik Yoba, Erik Parker & One9 (Producers of “Time Is Illmatic”), Rosie Perez, Marley Marl & his son, DJ Beverly Bond (of Black Girls Rock) and Senator Gustavo Rivera. 

Congratulations to all honorees including: 
Afrika Bambaataa of the Zulu Nation
Dr. Olajide Williams, Artie Green, Easy A.D. and Doug E Fressh – Hip Hop Public Health
Dr. Christopher Emdin and the GZA – Science Genius
Maureen Yancy aka Ma. Dukes – J. Dilla’s Mother – J. Dilla Foundation
Tomas Alvarez and Rob Jackson – Beats, Rhymes & Life
David TC Ellis – High School for the Recording Arts/Hip Hop High
Toki Wright – Hip Hop Studies Program at McNally Smith College of Music
DJ Stephen Levitin, Pierce Freelon & Dr. Mark Katz – Beat Making Lab
Che “Rhymefest” & Donnie Smith – Donda’s House Inc. 

I was so inspired by everyone’s work and look forward to continuing to work with everyone.

WHEN I SEE YOU, I SEE ME

My father Brian, my son Solomon and I celebrating Father’s Day for the first time ever in June of 2013.

     When I look at Meek Mills, Lil B, Bobby Schmurder, Nikki Minaj, etc… I see myself.
I see artists with talent, opportunities, dysfunction, flaws and strong spirits. I see people who are abused, bruised and partly patched up. Futures filled with determinations to be different; yet, no matter how far we go, the cycles and pathologies repeat themselves.  I see myself.

     I interact with so many entertainers that have no clue that they’re the latest “Train Wreck” for Instagrammers and Reality Show watchers to enjoy. I recently took a journey to discover my origin. I wanted to know, “Who was my father? Why did he leave, and how could listening and being empathetic to his plight instead of angry at his absence help me put together missing pieces?”  I forgave him. I loved him.

     As artists, especially in Hip Hop we’re constantly fighting to prove “Authenticity”. 
We want people to know we’ve gone through and overcome odds most people couldn’t survive. We like to appear scary and violent.

 “I’ve seen children get slaughtered/ niggaz grandmother’s assaulted/ throw a gang sign and dare you do something about it” – Rick Ross.

     I now believe that with each bar we spit, filled with accounts of trauma, street life, money and misdirected violence, another silent tear is shed for what really pains us. 
We’ve covered up the real issue so well that it’s sacrilegious to even consider that in the words of Jay-Z “Sensitive Thugs, Y’all All NEED HUGS”.

    We need our families, our mothers and our fathers. We need “Hugs”, encouragement, validation and discipline. We need our parents to not get shot, go to jail, hate one another, commit violence against one another or have us unintentionally, harboring the type of resentment that only hurts the child.

     We are now guilty of continuing this cycle – no matter how much money we earn, how many fans we accrue or how much we remember and hate what was done to us. Most Rappers need therapy! Most African Americans need therapy! Honestly, most Americans need therapy! 

     For the sake of this piece, let’s stick to Rappers. The lost children of the Baby boomers, the abused offspring of Generation X. Let’s get well together, as a family.
Let’s document it in our music and our images. Let’s begin to forgive our families, heal the wounds and end the legacies of fratricide. It’s time to be more then self- serving, if we are to thrive in the next century it’s imperative that we be OF Service.

Click here, to watch the music video “Lost and Found” where I process the journey of losing and finding my father.

Click here, to watch the trailer for “In My Father’s House,” which I am featured in with my father. The film is currently in select AMC Theaters.

CHICAGO PREMIERE OF IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE

Last night, we hosted the Chicago Premiere of In My Father’s House, with over 700 of our closest friends and family. I’d like to thank everyone that came out, especially my brothers Common and the Honorable Judge Greg Mathis. Please check out the gallery below! In My Father’s House opens in select theaters this Friday, October 9th. It is very important to go see the film opening weekend! All photos by Juan Anthony Images.

IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE IN THEATERS 10/9/15

I am happy to share that our documentary film In My Father’s House will be released in select AMC theater’s Friday, October 9, 2015! Please grab your family and friends and go see the film either opening weekend or during the first week. We have some special things planned closer to the release, so be sure to check back here frequently as well as on my social media. If you’ve already seen the film at one of the festivals, thank you! Below you will find the full Theatrical Release cities & theaters!

REPAIRING THE AMERICAN FAMILY #FATHERHOODFRIDAY

Caption: Photo of my father Brian and I, shortly after we reconnected after 20+ years of not seeing each other. 

       Today we debut our film “In My Father’s House ” at the New Orleans Essence Fest. This documentary is a personal journey that addresses the pathologies, myths and beauty sorounding American fatherhood. 
      Yes I know, I’m Black, and to most minds that dictates that I speak about “Black Fatherhood”. I should quote the African American single parent statistics and perhaps even address crime and some other urban issues.
This film is deeper than that, it’s about the American Fatherhood experience. The uniqueness of my story to some, may be that my father wasn’t around for 25 years because he was homeless. 
     This is also a peek into substance abuse, forgiveness and coming to terms with the fact that while none of us are perfect we’re all capable of loving beyond measure, and that love has a spiritual payoff.
     American Fatherhood is under assault mainly because men suffer in silence about the depression we experience as fathers. We’re taught not to complain because “a man is supposed to protect and provide”. I’ll be the first to say, I fall short and find myself constantly trying to pick up the pieces of fatherhood I drop along the way.
We enter relationships we regret and have children we resent, because of the choices we’ve made. 
     Some of us live with our families and become emotionally detached, entering dark spaces to escape because we don’t have healthy outlets for grief. I believe it’s beneficial for fathers and families to share our stories, memories and feelings about fatherhood. 
     I invite you, if you’re at Essence Fest to come out to see the film. It will screen today (Friday, July 3rd) at 12 noon on the 2nd Floor of the Convention Center. Let’s open the Pandora’s box and see if we as Americans, can repair our spirits and families through the roots that helped bring us here. 

Please e-mail whoisrhymefest@gmail.com with  any questions you have, stories and comments about fatherhood, and every Friday, we will meet here to discuss fatherhood and family. #FatherhoodFriday

WELCOME TO MY NEW WEBSITE

Welcome to my new Website WHO IS RHYMEFEST.com!

I want to welcome all newcomers to the art, activism and information that you’ll receive when you visit and become a part of our movement. I would also like to reintroduce and update people who’ve been following me for years as to what I’ve been up to, who I’m currently working with, when you can expect new Rhymefest  music and more.
                   
                 WARNING 
1) If you’re an anti-intellectual this may not be the site for you, thought provoking things WILL HAPPEN HERE.

2) If you have suggestions, messages solutions or reasonable requests please don’t be shy and hit me up via the contact page.

3) If you can’t handle healthy debate, please go back to where everyone agrees with you. Dissent is welcomed here.

4)  Interesting videos, comments and analysis will be shared. 

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned…

IN MY FATHERS HOUSE

I recently found my father after not seeing him for 20+ years. This film “In My Father’s House” chronicles the journey of our first year together after reuniting. The Film will be showing at the TriBeCa Film Festival in April of 2015.