We’ve seen Kendrick Lamar’s music serve as the catalyst for positive change, like when protestors chanted the refrain from “Alright,” or when a fan he brought onstage told him that he and his music helped save her life.
Now, it’s the inspiration for a new scholarship that’s helping one recent high school grad pay for college.
The Be Alright Scholarship — which isn’t affiliated with the rapper directly, but inspired by him — was established by OogeeWoogee, an outlet that focuses on the intersections off music and society.
They saw K. Dot visit New Jersey’s High Tech High School in June — where he interacted with students and learned about teacher Brian Mooney’s “hip-hop ed” approach — and decided to launch a scholarship with the principles of hip-hop as an educational tool in mind.
From August 21 through August 25, they tasked High Tech High students with “explaining the positive aspects of hip-hop and [showcasing] their talent.”
The winner was Hamza Qureshi, a recent graduate of the school, who just this week started his freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Thanks to his winning video, he’s taking home the $1,500 scholarship.
In the video, Qureshi spoke highly of his experience with hip-hop ed.
“More than just as another way to learn, it was really something that helped me mature,” he said. “[It] helped me grow as a writer, as a performer, as a poet. And just as a person.”
He also talked about his goals while at his new school.
“Here at Carnegie Mellon, we don’t have a slam poetry club, or any kind of outlet for spoken word,” he said. “I’d like to start Carnegie Mellon’s first slam poetry club. It was something that Mooney did for our school, and I saw how immensely it changed that, so I feel I can do the same thing for an even bigger environment.
“My biggest goal is to create a Pittsburgh-area university poetry slam.”
OogeeWoogee hopes to bring the scholarship to a national level in the near future.