The Media Academy provides Madison teens the opportunity to work with music and film industry professionals on the development and publishing of music for social justice. By pairing teens with adult mentors to work on group-oriented and self-guided digital learning projects of interest to them, the inaugural 8-week Summer 2017 Media Academy produced several songs and music videos, a documentary, a DVD and package design, marketing and promotional plans, and a live performance in the common area at the top of State Street.
Thank you Rob "Rob Dz" Franklin and the many other artists, educators and activists who made the series possible, including:M.O.D. Media Urban Community Arts Network Steve Potter Howard Hayes Jose Ornelas Lesley Numbers Brenda Konkel Carlos Guzman Allison Lenz Karen Reece Pacal Bayley Mark Shah Evans Corey Whitmore Jason Kempen Bradley Thomas Trent Miller Carlee Latimer Nate Clark Marc Gannon Tana Elias Melissa Guth Uly Williams Sooper Dooper Cookie In The Corner Productions Downtown Madison, Inc. / BID Public Library Association Madison Public Library Foundation
The original academy curriculum did not include a documentary. While spending the first few weeks building the skill sets for recording music and filming music videos, and also discussing the societal issues teen participants were concerned about, the topic of homelessness rose to the top of many discussions and several participants voiced their interest in pursuing a documentary video project. Following the interests the group expressed, the team of adults and teens came together to plan and produce Around The Way: stories of the struggle.
I wrote this song so people would stop the violence. We have crazy people walking around with guns killing good people for no reason at all. When the kids in the community see adults doing that, when they're older they're going to do the same thing. My daddy was killed for no reason at all. A man killed him for looking at him a wrong way. That's not right. We also have law enforcement and public leaders that very publicly have murdered, beaten, and oppressed people in our communities all over the country. This type of hatred can not be encouraged. This type of hatred can not be accepted. No matter your age you are never too young or too old to have a voice and stand up for what is right. I hope my song can bring inspiration to all people to have a voice and use it loud.
The message behind my song "Winners" was basically just speaking on how if you keep your confidence and your drive and keep competing at a high level, you'll always be a winner. Sometimes people don't always get enough credit for the little things they do, how hard they work, but of course it'll all show itself. "I'm never hopeless, just more focused on these commas now", I just know the feeling of always staying on your stuff and keeping your drive for whatever you want to do and work hard at it, you'll always feel like a winner.
Rob Dz says:
"You should've been there!"
The Media Academy internships were opportunities made possible by the Public Library Association's Inclusive Internship Initiative (III). The overarching goal of III is to introduce students from diverse backgrounds to careers in librarianship. Through a summer-long mentored learning project, library mentors and interns engage with multiple facets of library life, from administration to programming to user services. Interns have opportunities to connect with one another, and learn from mentors across the country.
The initial idea our team developed while in D.C. was for James and Jalen to document the 8-week academy and then produce a video of action and stories. Some of that documentation still happened but they showed immense flexibility by shifting their focus toward investigating and documenting something of concern to teen participants. While spending the first few weeks building the skill sets for recording music and filming music videos, and also discussing the societal issues teen participants were concerned about, the topic of homelessness rose to the top of many discussions and several participants voiced their interest in pursuing a documentary video project. Following the interests the group expressed, Jalen and James led a team in the production of Around The Way: stories of the struggle.
While they both oversaw the general direction of the project, Jalen took the lead on filming and editing and James took the lead on producing the score. They each came into this internship with a wealth of talent and knowledge, and then added to their skill sets and resources while working hand-in-hand with the library and the Media Academy mentors. Jalen had taken classes in photography while in high school and used this opportunity to expand his understanding of camera options, shooting techniques and editing suites. Having an interest but no previous experience in production, James had his mind set on mastering Logic Pro X and therefore chose to structure his time around building a wide variety of instrumentals.
"We’ve been taught how to identify a problem, learned about its impact on the community and how to create a plan of action. I’ve been able to meet new people who have improved my hip-hop artistry while also learning new skills, like beat production and engineering, to develop my passion further."