Louisville, Kentucky says YES!

Parkland Church sets up studio for hip-hop, training

By Sheryl Edelen
sedelen@courier-journal.com
The Courier Journal
8/3/04

Hip-hop music is coming to Parkland through a new recording, Internet and video production studio that’s designed to provide free, hands-on training for young rappers, musicians and web page designers.

A non-profit arm of Elim Baptist Church is setting up the studio – complete with video cameras, sound boards, a soundproofed recording booth, computers and other equipment.

It will be home to the church’s Youth Entertainment Studio, or YES Louisville program – a series of 16 classes to teach Parkland-area youths about music, television and the Internet.

Beginning next month, 20 participants between 12 and 21 years old will work on various aspects of the recording process to create demo tapes for local YES artists and a professional-quality CD with a compilation of their work. The participants will then market and sell the album as a recruitment tool for the next class.

The Rev. Vincent James Sr., pastor of Elim Baptist, at 3114 Greenwood Ave., and chairman of the board of the non-profit arm of the church, said the program marks a change in the way his church is attracting youths. More churches should consider adopting it, he added.

“We did an informal survey to gauge their interest, and I was surprised at how willing they are to participate in this,” James said. “They said there’s nothing in the community like this, nothing in school like this. They’re chomping at the bit.”

His church has long avoided hip-hop, he said. “But we need to embrace it, understand it and work within the system to change the morals of the songs of the day.”

The church isn’t going to censor the language of the participants. “But we’re going to show them another way to send the same message using different words,” said Monica Brown, executive director of the church’s non-profit arm, Oasis Life Center.

The curriculum for the Elim Baptist effort comes from a model program created in Chesapeake, VA. Harry Young, president and co-founder of the Virginia-based organization, said music is often the most effective way to reach youths.

Elim’s studio will be in a renovated house across the street from the church. It will have a hangout area for teens, as well as a work area and office space. The church raised $206,000 for the project from individuals and foundations.

Nick Stevens, president and owner of Louisville’s VMI/Downtown Recording, is providing technical expertise.

“I have a lot of kids that come in here looking for help – want to record a song or have a group – but really don’t know how to go about it,” he said. “This is a terrific project because it gives kids a chance to find out if this is really what they want to do.”


His church has long avoided hip-hop, he said. “But we need to embrace it, understand it and work within the system to change the morals of the songs of the day.”

 

 

 


“This is a terrific project because it gives kids a chance to find out if this is really what they want to do.”