For Oak Cliff Helping Students Craft Stories Through Hip-Hop

At the end of the four-week camp, students will perform their own recorded music live at For Oak Cliff's back-to-school festival on Aug. 12.

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Dallas nonprofit For Oak Cliff is exploring a new way to engage students in storytelling. 

The nonprofit’s founder, Taylor Toynes, hopes to help students in the community where he’s from find their creative voice through hip-hop. 

“Rap, in particular, it’s telling a story,” 15-year-old Kaillou Greco told The Dallas Morning News. “Kids say they want to be a rapper, but they don’t know how to write the lyrics, or write the song.”

A collaboration between the University of North Texas at Dallas and The Dallas Morning News, Amplify will teach students about writing through the unconventional conduit of hip-hop.

Kaillou is participating with other high school students in For Oak Cliff‘s Amplify Dallas, a new four-week summer program focusing on the history of hip-hop and it’s role in storytelling. A collaboration between For Oak Cliff, the University of North Texas at Dallas and The Dallas Morning News, Amplify will teach students about writing through the unconventional conduit of hip-hop.

For Oak Cliff intern Jackson Cole told The Morning News that the camp will help students understand how to craft a personal narrative and write useful, creative lyrics to convey a point. 

Students in the program will meet every Saturday for a month beginning July 8 to learn from The Morning News and UNT-Dallas staffers.

UNT-Dallas assistant director of external relations and development Cynthia Perez told The Morning News that the university has wanted to organize a project like this for a while.

“This is just one way of us reaching out to the community and having a program that’s engaging to students,” Perez said. “And … the purpose of it was really to help kids develop their writing skills and giving them a way to express themselves and share their personal stories.”

At the end of the camp, students will perform their own recorded music live at For Oak Cliff’s back-to-school festival on Aug. 12.


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