Coachella Valley Teens Heal with Tupac Shakur
May is Mental Health Month, and a group of teens in the Coachella Valley, California, are embracing their own Mental Health Wellness utilizing Hip Hop Therapy.
The teen therapy group is led by Angelica Guajardo, Hip Hop Therapist/ Marriage and Family Therapist in Palm Desert, California.
Expressive Arts and Psychotherapy of the Desert is the valley’s only Expressive Arts Therapy Center. Expressive Arts Therapy is a multi-modal approach to therapy that utilizes visual arts, dance/movement, music, writing/poetry, and dramatic arts.
Angelica Guajardo, along with Music Artist and Song Writer Xpression, Juan Carlos Fajardo, Jr, CEO and Founder of Kryptic Reign Music, is helping teens through Hip Hop. Fajardo serves as the Director of the Hip Hop Therapy Program and Manager of Kryptic Studio 39, the Center’s professional recording studio. The youth in the program are studying the history of hip hop, the elements of hip hop, and exploring various poets and artists to learn the rhythmic art of story-telling for healing.
The teens reviewed music from legendary artist Tupac Shakur in honor of Mother’s Day. They studied the lyrics from “Dear Mama.” They did a line-by-line recitation and exploration of the song’s meaning. The teens then voiced the relevance of the words to their own lives.
“I remember being so poor; all we ate was Top Ramen for a whole month,” said one youth.
Another youth shared that her father was addicted to cocaine when she was very young and realized her mother struggled as a single parent. The song inspired a female teen to rap the song in the recording studio as the other teens gathered to witness her experience.
The Hip Hop Therapy process boosts the participant’s self-esteem by offering community and autonomy and validating the person’s experiences.
Kryptic Reign Music and Expressive Arts and Psychotherapy of the Desert collaborate to establish a Hip Hop Conference in the Coachella. The conference will bring experts in the music industry to share their knowledge and expertise. Some of the featured speakers slated are Atron Gregory, Music Entrepreneur and former manager of Tupac Shakur; Ronnie King, Grammy, and Oscar-Nominated Producer; and actor Peter Dante, who assists in the Therapeutic Drama portion of the conference. Other added features include workshops in songwriting, hip hop dance, hip hop art, and a rap cypher.
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