Kanye West's Charity Offering Studio Time To At-Risk Chicago Youth

Michael Charboneau

by Michael Charboneau

Published July 29, 2013


Donda's House, a charity co-founded by Kanye West and named after his late mother, will offer a free music training program for at-risk youth in Chicago's South Side neighborhood, Chicago radio station WBEZ reports. The program, called "Got Bars?," will take place at St. Sabina Church in Chicago. It will be open to aspiring musicians ages 15-24 and will offer 10 weeks of in-studio instruction.

The goal of the program is to make a positive impact on the community by giving youth a creative outlet and the opportunity to build their skill sets. Donda's House Executive Director Donnie Smith told WBEZ that music instruction has important and wide-ranging benefits. “Art instruction and particularly music instruction leads people to become better problem solvers, more flexible,” she said. “There are just so many outcomes that come from the study of music and particularly music writing.” Smith also noted that the 15-24 age group is especially vulnerable, since there are often few positive activities available to them. "Got Bars?" seeks to fill that void.

Grammy-winning rapper Rhymefest, who co-founded Donda's House with West and has a history of community involvement, will lead the students in studio instruction, helping them to read, write, record, and engineer their own music. At the end of the program, "Got Bars?" plans to release an EP of all the participants' songs.


The program will also incorporate health and wellness training in addition to the instruction in music. In an interview with JET magazine, Smith mentioned that a pro football player will be in charge of that particular component, which she believes goes hand-in-hand with a career in the music industry. "In order to pursue a goal in creative arts, you must be disciplined," she said.

Smith stated that "Got Bars?" has plans to expand into dance, drama, and art instruction in addition to music, as well as to start sister programs in other cities across the US. For now, however, the program is only in Chicago. Applications will be accepted until August 2nd, and they are available on the Donda's House official website.

Kanye West
Hip Hop Mid-West Rap
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