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Editorial: @Common & @DondasHouse Come Together For Job Initiative Program & Youth Music Festival

Hip-Hop is once again doing something good in the ‘hood.

This past Wednesday (April 9) hip-hop artist, actor and philanthropist, Common held a press conference to announce his foundation’s alliance with Donda’s House Inc., and the Chicago Urban League to create a jobs initiative program and music festival created specifically for the youth of Chicago.

A recent study found that a whopping 92 percent of black males in the city between the ages of 16-19 were without employment in 2012. Common aims to change that figure.

“If people feel that they have the capability to help, they should look and see what the need is and serve that. We’re trying to do that here,” Common says.

Andrea Zopp, CEO of the Chicago Urban League adds “It’s one thing to provide summer jobs for these kids, but we’re trying to provide year-round jobs. We’ve had hearings and the kids have told us that they need jobs year-round.”

Chicago rap artist and activist Che “Rhymefest” Smith, co-founder of Donda’s House, says that all the kids of Chicago need are opportunities.

“If kids have opportunities to make good money legally, it might dissuade them from turning to crime,” says the rapper affectionately known as ‘fest. “Our generation [African Americans in their late twenties and thirties] always talk about how the previous generation failed us and now it’s our turn to succeed for our youth. This collaboration isn’t about Kanye West, Common, Lupe Fiasco, or anyone. It’s about necessity.”

The jobs initiative’s goal is create 20,000 jobs for the city’s youth.

In regards to the AAHH! Fest, no information about the show’s line up has been released. We know the fest is set to take place behind Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry on September 20 and 21. When pressed for a hint as to who might be included in the lineup, Common only teased saying “We’re trying to get some of the great Chicagoans. That’s all I can say”.

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