What is your impression of what Professor Rod and ESSA are doing for the community and how they infuse culture and hip hop in their methods?
I really admire and appreciate the presence of a student organization like ESSA - especially in a community that seems somewhat under-represented (in the Mainland) in both the world of Hip Hop and social issues. I will always be available to help Professor Rod and ESSA push their line.
What was your personal goal(s) and highlight(s) of the Rise Up even at UH. Where you happy with the turnout and what have been the highlights of your HI Life Summer 2011 trip?
I really didn't know what to expect as far as attendance, but I was really looking forward to presenting my workshops on Community Organizing and on my personal journey through music. Unfortunately, I think a few challenges arose that forced the organizers to re-evaluate and rework some scheduling. Regardless, we all made the adjustments and those who attended got some great workshops from MANA, Youth Speaks Hawaii, ESSA and Blue Scholars. I think the organizers did a great job! I wish I could've done more in the rest and relaxation department, but I was really swamped with all the workshops, shows and other business meetings -- which prevented me from really enjoying the island this time. But, I come back often enough that I wasn't complaining about it.
Talk about some of your personal hardships that MAY have led you to realize that helping the youth was sort of a "calling" for you. When did it hit you?
There have been so many incidents and moments that put my "work" into perspective. I think it was something I had to gradually grow into through studying and just being embedded in the community.
Has being immersed around the people of Hawaii the last few days helped further motivate or inspire you in any way?
Oh yeah! ALWAYS! Just to be surrounded by brown people is enough of a motivation for me!
Do you consider yourself a kama'aina yet?
Haha. Nah. I love the culture, the sense of real ohana and of course the land -- and even though I spent 1st and 2nd grade in Whitmore Village during my father's military stay in Hawaii -- I still think I'm just a guy from LA who wants to see the people of Hawaii get their independence.