Seven years ago, I was a mild mannered chubby kid from Brooklyn who physically sat in silence in the classroom, but academically dominated the honor roll. The only time I could talk myself into public speaking was when my GPA depended on it. A matter of fact, even one-on-one conversations with new people were rather daunting.
Seven days ago, I was presenting to a group of outgoing and strong-minded high school students from the Urban League who are the same age I was when I could not even fathom talking into a microphone. In high school, I had a phobia of being noticed; now I proudly and anxiously hop on any opportunity to speak in front of as large a group as possible to share ideas, thoughts, jokes and entertainment.
I am not the same Jerome from seven years ago — but I do not merely attribute that to my physical transformation. Between high school and today, I fell in love with an expression of art that is often muddied by the perpetrators and frowned upon by critics that have made no attempt to comprehend its true essence. Hip hop has given me a way out of my shell and a path to the top of a podium. Now when I hear Lupe Fiasco’s “hip hop has saved my life,” it all makes sense…Read More