vince staples launched a youth program in his home town

At a press conference the rapper said, “I want to be able to be one of the people that reinforces the fact the we matter just as much as the next person.”

by i-D Staff
16 June 2016, 2:40am

Vince Staples - the rapper and world class Yelp reviewer - returned home to his childhood neighborhood of Ramona Park in Long Beach this week to do some considerable good. He was there to help announce the launch of a new youth program that will teach high school kids practical skills that could lead to future employment. The program, called the Youth Institute, will take place over the summer vacation and focus on filmmaking, graphic design, music production, 3D printing and product design. It was developed to not only help underprivileged youths access a wave of career prospects, but develop vital social and emotional skills. Staples donated an unspecified amount to fund the program.

Fans of the rapper would be familiar with Vince's relationship with his community; he regularly drops mention of it in his work. On Norf Norf he speaks candidly of his childhood in Ramona Park and the need to steer the youth of Long Beach in the right direction through education. He regularly details how flaws in the current education system feed into national school dropout rate across his own social media as well as on CNN.

During a press conference for the Youth Institute he expanded on his motivations: "What I can say is, living over here my entire life, I've never had an opportunity given to me from the area, only examples of how to mess up, and what I didn't want to do."

Staples also stressed the significance the program could potentially have for the psyche of disadvantaged youths in the area. "I want to be able to be one of the people that reinforces the fact the we matter just as much as the next person," he said. "That's actually the biggest thing I can do for this community."

He joins the ranks of other young artists using their platforms and resources for good. Earlier this year Rihanna announced her Clara Lionel Foundation was launching a scholarship program to help students go to college, while Miley Cyrus has been splitting her time between music and her Happy Hippie Foundation since 2015. And at just 22, it's clear Vince is going to be a powerful and much needed education ally for years to come.



Text Kasumi Borczyk