For the past 25 years Zumix’s Corey DePina has not only been been an artist, but also an emcee, teaching artist, and youth worker. DePina has dedicated his life to using hip hop as a tool for positive youth development.
In 2017, he was granted the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to his ancestral homeland of Cape Verde in partnership with the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This was a chance for DePina to study his roots, teach hip-hop history, and understand his past, present, and future.
“My time in Fogo, Cape Verde blew me away,” said DePina. “I learned more about the history of Cape Verde, particularly the slave trade’s part in leading to the colonization of the islands. Most importantly, I witnessed first-hand the poverty that most people in Fogo live in.”
Through his lens as an artist DePina was most struck by the scarcity of music education, musical instruments, and equipment available to young people on the island.
“As I returned to Boston after my three-week visit, I knew there was something I could do to help make a difference,” said DePina.
With the notion that hip hop is rooted in creating something from everything or, in some cases, nothing DePina began mobilizing the Cape Verdean community in Boston, in the state and beyond to support music education in Fogo through donating instruments, equipment, and money to build a music education center in Fogo.
“Along with my new friend that is the music teacher on the island, I’m trying to mobilize the community and others to support the “Fogo Project”, said DePina. “My dream is to give young people in Fogo access to tools that will allow them to create and nurture their artistry as I’ve been able to do. We are creating a space at a local community center in Fogo that is for music. It will be filled with instruments and equipment so that young people can create, record, and share their art with each other and the greater community. We want to help add to the culture of Fogo by supporting its rich musicianship and musical expression. All of this is to help nurture and foster the next generation of artists on the island.”
Already, DePina has received numerous instrument donations and is trying to raise $20,000 to establish a music space and staff to nurture the next generation of artists in Fogo.
“A little bit of money goes a long way in Fogo,” said DePina, who has already raised over $3,000 to his $20,000 goal.
You can help DePina reach his goal by donating to the Fogo Project at www.firstgiving.com/event/zumix/The-Fogo-Project.