This summer, the Madison Public Library has created a program for local teens called The Media Academy where participants have created songs and music videos for a documentary focused on homelessness, violence in the community and the Black Lives Matter movement. The program will culminate with a live screening of the documentary as well as live music performances from local hip-hop artists on Saturday, Aug. 12

The Media Academy program provides Madison teens the opportunity to work with music and film industry professionals during an 8-week summer academy. The program will produce a DVD, package design, music videos, marketing and promotional plans, and a live performance by pairing teens with adult mentors to work on group-oriented and self-guided digital learning projects of interest to them.

“I want to spread the message that these issues are important and need to be addressed,” says Jalen McCullough, 18, who also performs under the name Protege the Pro. “Through this program, we can address these issues by creating music and videos and also learn new skills, such as songwriting, audio and video recording, promotion and team building.”

As part of the program, the teens have taken many skills-based mini-courses over the summer at the library’s central branch. Instructors have included media professionals from M.O.D. Media, community activists from Urban Community Arts Network (UCAN), design experts and others. The program is led by hip-hop musician Rob Dz and teen services librarian Jesse Vieau.

“We’ve been taught how to identify a problem, learned about its impact on the community and how create a plan of action,” says James Horton Jr., 17. “I’ve been able to meet new people who have improved my hip-hop artistry while also learning new skills, like beat production and engineering, to develop my passion further.”

The performance and documentary screening will take place on August 12, 4-6 p.m. at 30 State St., in front of the Wisconsin Historical Museum.

Written by Madison365 staff