Zumix’s Corey DePina receives Black Excellence on the Hill

In honor of Black History Month, Zumix’s Youth Development and Performance Manager Corey DePina received the state’s Black Excellence on the Hill award during a recent State House ceremony.
The Black Excellence on the Hill award celebrates black culture, excellence, and achievement in the Commonwealth. The award by the Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus honors the unsung heroes that make our communities thrive.
“Receiving the Black Excellence word from the Black and Latino Caucus at the State House was just the inspiration I needed during a time of uncertainty,” said DePina. “Unlearning everything that I had been taught about learning, racism, sexism ageism and identity though systematic oppression has been no easy task. I’m a high school and college drop-out who is now one of the best educators in our state. Not only am I building a music school and recording studio on the island of Fogo in Cabo Verde where my family immigrated from, I inspire the next generation of leaders and creatives by modeling Black Excellence everyday. Thank you to my State Rep. Adrian Madaro and members of the Black and Latino Caucus for this honor.”
For the past 25 years Zumix’s Corey DePina has been an artist, emcee, teaching artist, and youth worker. DePina has dedicated his life to using hip hop as a tool for positive youth development.
“We are so proud to announce that our very own Corey DePina, in the presence of Representative Adrian Madaro, Governor Charlie Baker, and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo received an award as a Black Excellence on the Hill Honoree from The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and an official citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives for his incredible work both at ZUMIX and beyond,” said Zumix Founder and Director Madeleine Steczynski. “We are in awe of your awesomeness always Corey.”
In 2017, DePina 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.
DePina said his time in Fogo, Cape Verde blew him away.
“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.
“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.
You can help DePina reach his goal by donating to the Fogo Project at www.firstgiving.com/event/zumix/The-Fogo-Project.
“Congratulations to Corey DePina on being a Black Excellence on the Hill honoree,” said Rep. Madaro. “This recognition is much-deserved. Your commitment to empowering youth through music in East Boston and around the world is inspiring. Thank you for all you do in the community through Zumix and beyond.”

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