Knowing the lengths I have traveled literally to support one of my favorite artists, a co-worker shared this link with me about Grammy-winning rapper Drake getting his “give back” on to North Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion High School.
I must admit, it’s refreshing to see a rapper doing something other than getting charged with DUI’s, saving hoes on reality shows and making it rain at King of Diamonds (so far Drake has accomplished two out of three of these). Admittedly, I was pissed. I have been trying to get on this man’s payroll for a minute, or at least snag an interview and I never had any faith that our path’s would intersect since he spends most of his days entertaining our youth while I spend most of my days empowering and educating them. Seriously, unless Aubs wants to make an album about safer sex and teen pregnancy prevention, I’m not too sure how we’d link up professionally. But here he is doing his part so that hopefully our Philadelphia teens have something to focus on besides killing and impregnating one another and I respect that. It makes me love him just a little bit more than I already had.
First I wondered, “Why Strawberry Mansion?” The Philadelphia school district as a whole is on life support. Violence, high drop-out rates and decreased emphasis on extra-curricular activities and culture is a Philadelphia thing, not just a Strawberry Mansion thing. I’ve spent the last three years of my classes traveling to and from many of our city’s high school preaching parenting education and I can’t tell you how many classes have been canceled because of a fight where the police was called. I’m always amazed at how many students I have seen start at a traditional school only to reappear in one of my alternative school classes, and then pop up months later at a shelter or drug recovery center as they struggle to conquer the circumstances of their surroundings. How many students have I met over the age of eighteen that don’t know the purpose of a menstrual cycle or who the 16th president was? So what exactly drew Drizzy to Mansion?