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.