Gabriel “Asheru” Benn, M.Ed. is an educator, youth activist, and Peabody Award-winning Hip Hop artist based in Washington, DC. He has served as a teacher/administrator in DC Public Schools for the last 13 years, and is founder of Guerilla Arts Ink, LLC, a community service organization specializing in education through the arts, cultural programming, and professional development. In 2006, been co-founded Educational Lyrics, an educational publishing company specializing in the development of culturally responsive instructional materials. His cornerstone program is H.E.L.P., the Hip Hop Educational Literacy Program, a supplemental series of workbooks designed to HELP students of all reading levels through the innovative usage of Hip Hop lyrics for critical analysis, multicultural relevance, and effective literacy instruction.
Debuting with his first recordings in 1997, Asheru has since released several albums and recording projects — two as part of classic Hip Hop duo Unspoken Heard, and several more as a solo artist. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Canada, the US and Japan, performing alongside artists and groups like Common, Mos Def, Jill Scott, Bilal, Ludacris, Edo G, J-Live, Wordsworth, and The Roots, while collaborating and being featured on projects with Hip Hop greats such as Pete Rock, Talib Kweli and DJ Jazzy Jeff. Asheru collaborated with Aaron McGruder to write and perform several songs for the hit TV series, The Boondocks, including the show’s theme song. In 2006, Asheru earned a prestigious Peabody Award for Journalism —the first rapper (emcee) to win such an award—for his writing contributions to the controversial “Return of the King” episode.
Upon invitation, Gabriel “Asheru” Benn has had the distinguished honor of lecturing and presenting his unique professional development model at dozens of schools, universities, international conferences and teacher institutes across the country, including the NEA, IRA & NCTE, as well as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Stanford University, Tufts University and the Congressional Black Caucus.
Lisa Pegram is a poet, songwriter and arts educator. A DC native, she has over twelve years’ experience in custom designing innovative arts programming for such organizations as the Smithsonian Institution, Studio Theater, National Geographic, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. She served DC WritersCorps for 8 years as Director of Programs. Pegram was lead local organizer of the 2008 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival featured as a mini-series on HBO and coached the 2005, 2006 and 2009 DC teams. She has led youth development programs for the Latin American Youth Center, CentroNia and Asian American LEAD. Pegram was awarded a DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist in 1999. Her poetry and essays have been published in Bum Rush the Page (Random House, 2001), Beyond the Frontier (Black Classic Press, 2002), and Beats Rhymes and Life (Random House, 2007).
Onstage she is front woman of “Lady Pcoq and The Plumes.” Her music has been performed at The Kennedy Center, Fete de la Musique at the French Embassy, the DC Hip Hop Theater Festival and the London International Festival of Theater. She currently works as a songwriter and master teaching artist with a focus in leadership programs for women & girls.
As he so aptly puts it “I’m not a rapper, I’m a poet with a hip-hop style”. Bomani’s internet smash hit “Read a Book” is the subject of a short animated film that debuted on BET in June 2007 to much critical acclaim and controversial backlash. He is featured on the first single/video from Mello-D & The Rados: “Cool Witchu”, which aired on BET’s “Rap City” and peaked at #3 on national college radio charts. Bomani’s music video for “The Hustle” aired at the San Francisco Black Film Festival in 2006 to rave reviews. Bomani’s 2008 release Radio Friendly blends his fluid and funky production style with his insight-fully poetic yet accessible lyrics. As a editorial writer he has been published in the Washington Post and TheRoot.com. Bomani produces and engineers for other artists and has scored numerous movies and television shows. Mr. Armah has worked as a consultant teaching creative writing, music and video production for American University, The Washington National Cathedral, The University of the District of Columbia, The National Youth Leadership Council, The National Organization of Concerned Black Men, The American Poetry Museum, Martha’s Table, and Words Beats & Life Inc. In 2012 Bomani is releasing his first book and accompanying album entitled “Circumlocution Vol II”. He will also continue being the drummer and front man for his #funk#rock#gogo#hiphop band Immaletchufinish.
Maimouna “Luna E” Youssef is a seasoned
singer, emcee, songwriter and poet. The
Baltimore native was born into a family of
exceptional artists. She began performing
traditional African and Native American songs
on stage with her family at the age of five. As a
youth she joined the Baltimore/Washington
based musical theater group called Uprising.
Maimouna toured nationally with Uprising as a
lead vocalist. In addition, the young Youssef
played a leading role in the Broadway musical
“Once on this Island”. Other theatrical
experiences include the original trio showcase
“Three Generations” that consisted of
Maimouna Youssef, her mother, Nataska
HumminBird, and her grandmother, Mountain
At 16 Youssef along with her cousin Omari
“AzIz” Forman-Bey, formed the jazz/hip-hop/funk/ band, called Cirius B. In the spring of 2003
the duo completed the recording of their independent debut album entitled “Subversive
Activity”. Baltimore welcomed Cirius B with open arms. Cirius B quickly became one of
Baltimore’s preeminent bands without exception to genre. Also in 2003, Maimouna Youssef
won the title of “Baltimore’s Idol” appearing frequently on Baltimore’s Fox 45 morning show as
well as every major local radio station including 92.3FM’s Big Phat Morning show.
In 2004 Luna E and band mate AzIz relocated to Philadelphia to work with Grammy Award
winning producer, James Poyser. There, Youssef’s dreams began to materialize when she
was introduced to many of her favorite and most respected artists including the legendary hip -
hop band The Roots. Youssef was asked to sing lead vocals on their new hit single at the
time, “Don’t Feel Right.” Shortly thereafter, she was packing her bags as she joined the Roots
on their world tour. She began swapping musical licks with such artists as Angelique Kidjo,
Brian Wilson’s band, Big Daddy Kane, Nas, Dead Prez, Wilco, Zap Mama, Cody Chestnut,
Martin Luther, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli. Youssef rocked the stages of
many renowned venues such as Denver Colorado ‘s Red Rocks Amphitheater, New York
City’s Radio City Music Hall, and Switzerland’s Moniteau Jazz Festival. Her musical
endeavors were a springboard for Youssef to make her big screen debut in Dave Chapelle’s
hip hop documentary “Block Party.”
Maimouna received a Grammy nomination for her contribution on the Roots hit “Don’t Feel
Right” in 2007 for best rap song.
Maimouna is currently in the studio recording her debut solo album. Youssef describes the
album as, “feel good music” layered with colorful harmonies and sincere lyrics that revere the
past styles we all love, while ushering in a new wave of sound.
Five Rings Arts Services 9 Week Kung Fu Course Prospectus
The following is an overview of a nine week Kung Fu program, which is suitable for children . As the course progresses, individual attention
will accompany group exercise.
Week 1: Basics
• Warm- up stretches/ kicks
• basic stances
• Beginning Kung Fu form ( Primary Fist)
Week 2: Conditioning/ Calisthenics
jumping exercises/ bounding drills
next sequence of Primary Fist form
Week 3: Tantui (springing leg) techniques
Tantui exercise # 1-3
Next sequence of Primary Fist
basic one and two- step footwork drills
forward walking fist
next sequence of Primary Fist
Tantui (springing leg) technique #4
backward walking fist
final sequence of Primary Fist
Week 8: Preparation for Kung Fu Demo
• Each group will be given specific exercises to demonstrate based on individual skill attained during previous 7 weeks.
Week 9: Kung Fu demonstration.
15 minute presentation showcasing students’ progress in martial arts course.
Harambe is a celebration of learning and inspirational moment held daily before classes at the Arts & Tech Academy of Ballou HS in SE, Washington, DC., and at Cesar Chavez Parkside in NE, Washington, DC. Facilitator of Harambe session is Baba Ras D of Revel Youth Shine (RYS) & Guerilla Arts Ink, LLC
“Harambe” is a Kiswahili term that means “We agree to come together and pull together to ensure the victory of Light Over Darkness, Good Over Evil, Love Over Hate, and Life Over Death”. This is the vibration we are striving to engage our children in, when many of them are surrounded by despair. Salute to Baba Ras D and Jabari “AuraGin” Exum for sharing their passion and truly exemplifying what it means to be a “Guerilla Artist”.
Revel Youth Shine, Inc
Quantity Description of Service
Akoben Rites of Passage Program is a premiere manhood training exploration for
young men who are approaching Manhood/Woman in the near future. The young
men and woman of Akoben will meet once per week for the school year 2011- 2012.
This journey in self discovery is designed primarily to inspire the Scholars to choose
Creative Self Expression, Critical Thinking, and Right Conduct as an Alternative to
In the Spirit of Harambe, the Scholars will agree to come together, to pull together,
to ensure the Victory of Light over Darkness, Good over Evil, Love over Hate, and
Life over Death. Thus all participants will have the responsibility of adhering to the
expectations of the Program principles while also maintaining compliance with all
rules and regulations therein.
Students will be introduced to the principles of Harembe
Students will be will participate in exercises the promote Team Building
Students will participate in exercises the promote Creative Self-Expression
Students will participate in exercises that promote Critical Thinking Skills
Students will participate in exercises that promote Right conduct as an alternative to
Students will select the most preferred activities to practice and prepare to preform
Students will practice performance pieces and start videotaping
Students showcase their understanding of the Harambe principles though
performance and video tape
Jay Coleman, M.A. Ed., H.D. has been in the service of children for over 11 years.
With experience teaching in public, private and charter schools, he has concentrated
his expertise in the field of special education. As a professional artist and father, his
sensitivity to the human spirit has enabled him to inspire parents and students alike.
After attending Morehouse College 90’-94’ he returned to D.C. to further his studies at
the Corcoran School of Art, 99’. Under the direction of his mentor Lois Mailou Jones
(painter) he began graduate studies at Howard University. Recently Jay has completed
his master’s degree in Special Education for children with emotional and behavioral
disorders. He is trailblazing by seeking new and innovative methods for engaging and
educating the exceptional child. As a portrait painter, he has been commissioned by
presidents of colleges (Howard University) and countries (Angola, Cape Verde). His
portrait of Rosa Parks hung at her memorial service and his murals bring color to many
DC schools and communities. Co-founder of Slickfish LLC and founder of Slickfish
Education & Therapy, Coleman has developed activities and curricula utilizing salt water
fish tanks to educate and inspire children.
Helina Metaferia is an Ethiopian-American Visual Artist and Holistic Practitioner. She is certified in Integrative Yoga Therapy, Y.O.G.A. for Youth, Thai Massage, Shin Tai Shiatsu, is a Gendai/Usui Reiki Master, and is currently completing a practitioners degree in Metaphysical Science. She is also a practicing student of Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and certain Yoga systems. She received formal art education at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and at Morgan State University, where she obtained her Bachelors in Fine Art.
Helina specializes in Intuitive Art, the process of combining introspective meditation with art for the purpose of achieving a higher consciousness. As a holistic practitioner, she focuses on the direct application of metaphysics and energy alchemy through professional healing modalities that create wellness in the mind, body, and spirit. A large part of her professional art and holistic practice has been about women’s health, power, and wellness, though she also works extensively with youth and diverse communities.
Helina has exhibited her artwork in galleries and museums across the nation, including Casa Frela Gallery in New York City, Eubie Blake Center in Baltimore, Vivant Art Collection in Philadelphia, and the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. She has completed over fifteen urban murals in the Washington, DC metro area. Helina has taught art and holistic wellness classes in schools, hospitals, businesses, non-profit organizations, community centers, wellness centers, juvenile detention centers, and government agencies since 2004. She is the owner and founder of The Meta Experience, a visual and healing arts company that exposes and educates people about paths to creative wellness.
Khalil Gill: Graphic Design/Mural Art Workshops
“I have studied art since I was a child. After graduating from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, I went on to study at the Maryland Institute College of Art where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Illustration and a Masters in Digital Arts. In 2003, I began teaching Special Effects and 3D Animation at Gibbs College. I then moved on to teach K-12 at a Special Education school in DC where I created my own Art department later becoming the program director of that Digital Arts Department. I am currently the illustrator for H.E.L.P. (Hip-Hop Educational Lyrics Program) Workbooks that take the lyrics of popular Hip-Hop songs and use them to teach vocabulary and critical thinking. The program has been endorsed by President Obama and integrated in schools across America. Most recently I produced a highly acclaimed animated mobile device PSA that is targeted towards young adults which was commissioned by the Harlem Health Promotion Center. I plan to use my skills and creative insight to assist the PMC program in engaging the community with high impact results. I hope to gain additional experience, exposure and continue my commitment to arts and public service.”