Naledge is Power: The Social Work of Hip-Hop

45 3Arts supporters
$5,473 raised of $4,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on February 03, 2015
    • 137% contributed

Naledge is Power: The Social Work of Hip-Hop is a music compilation, book, and film project that examines hip-hop culture and its impact on African American youth in Chicago.

One part educational and one part entertainment, this multi-sensory project will explore the opportunities that urban youth and their advocates have when using hip-hop music as a means to achieve greater success academically and within their social development. This film project will paint a vivid picture of Chicago’s hip-hop community and the advantages that creating rap music play in assisting the city’s youth in tough times. It will specifically chronicle three artists I have personally encountered while working as a youth advocate on Chicago’s south side.

Funds raised from 3AP will be used to help with the completion of the film portion of this project. I am in the process of finalizing location shoot and participants. The accompanying music album is already recorded and will be mixed and mastered in December 2014. Production costs include camera, lighting and sound equipment, transportation, editing, and day-to-day costs for two experienced camera operators. The goal is to shoot the project in early 2015 and screen the film at Chicago’s Little Black Pearl upon completion. I also plan to publicly debut the film at DCASE’s 3rd Annual Chicago Music Summit in 2016.

About This Project

Growing up in Chicago, I realized at around 15 years old that I was in love with hip-hop. Although I never knew all the places it would take me or all of the people it would introduce me to, I always knew that this music was integral to my socialization as a young black man in Chicago just trying to find his identity in this world. The music, the fashion, the dancing and the community of “hip-hop heads” that I encountered growing up gave me strong pride in my ethnic heritage, fostered my self-esteem and  motivated in me a decade-long career as a recording artist, entrepreneur and now, youth advocate.

Naledge is Power started off simply as a musical album, but now it has evolved into a short film and companion publication that details how African American youth utilize hip-hop music in order to redefine themselves and the African American community in more positive terms. I spent the last two years taking a break from being a touring musician to obtain a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California. During this time, I researched how hip-hop builds self-esteem, racial identity, and pro-social behavior in inner city youth (particularly those that are African American). I also utilized rap music as a means to engage while I interned at two agencies in the Washington Park and Englewood neighborhoods of Chicago. What I found was that this music that I love so dearly actually has true transformational power that extends beyond the superficial rhyming of words together over percussion. I’ve discovered that hip-hop culture is religion for many urban youth who simply have nothing else to place faith in, and its songs are often a place of refuge for those looking to be uplifted.

This 3AP project is crucial for me because I have invested my own personal funding in order to complete the musical component, and I want nothing less than to see the entire scope of the project to come to fruition. That said, I recognize crowdfunding projects like this are an all-or-nothing endeavor. In order for this project to succeed, it will need to meet its goal ($4000), or no money changes hands. So please have a look at our list of great rewards and share this project with your friends, family and social media network. My success is truly in your hands.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    A digital copy of "Naledge is Power" musical recording ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    A digital copy of "Naledge is Power" musical recording and personal recognition on Facebook and Twitter ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    A signed CD of "Naledge is Power," personal recognition on Facebook and Twitter, and a thank you in the film credits ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    A signed CD of "Naledge is Power," invitation to the film screening, a thank you in the film credits and a Meet-and-Greet with Naledge ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    A signed CD of "Naledge is Power," invitation for you and 2 guests to the film screening, a thank you in the film credits and a personal Meet-and-Greet with Naledge ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    "Executive Producer" credit on the film, a thank you in the book, a free signed hard copy of "Naledge is Power" CD and book, private screening of the film and a chance to attend a studio session with Naledge ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $2500
    Board Member of The Brainiac Project and the above rewards ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $0
    Null ($0.00 is tax deductible.)

Jabari Evans

The MCing half of progressive rap duo Kidz in the Hall, Naledge was born Jabari Evans in Cincinnati, OH.  However, he grew up on Chicago's South Side since he was two years old. Raised by two Ph.D.-educated …

View Jabari Evans's profile
  • Update 1: 10 Supporters In!
    Posted on December 20, 2014


    Hello All,

    Hope all is well with you.  I hope you appreciate this project and it's intention to enlighten on the value of hip hop music in building racial identity, self-esteem and self-concept.  Please find it in your heart to support the project with a minimal donation of $10 or above.  Have a great holiday season!!




    Update 2: Thank you!
    Posted on June 02, 2015


    Hello All,

    Hope all is well.  I just wanted to send a sincere thank you to all of those that supported the Naledge is Power project - whether you actually donated or merely told a friend about it- because of you I have been able to continue to be creative throughout all of 2015.  Though I haven't finished the book/film yet, the musical reward that all my supporters were promised is ready to be heard.  For all those interested, please visit to stream the project.  Again, I thank you all and wish you a wonderful summer.


    Jabari (Naledge)

    Update 3: Naledge is Power Listening Party/ Brainiac Project Open House
    Posted on September 27, 2015


    NALEDGE IS POWER! Party/Open House
    DATE(S):Tuesday, October 6 from 6 - 10 pm

     GBK Studio - 400 W. 76th Street, 5th Floor

    By housing a top-flight recording studio in the Grand Crossing area of Chicago, GBK Recording Studio helps the revitalization of a disadvantaged neighborhood through combining urban planning and art practices. The studio, my recording home for The Brainiac Project, helps combat violence in Chicago by engaging previous perpetrators & potential victims. Ultimately, this studio aims to have a global impact by serving as a beacon of hope and network of influence for youth who would otherwise not have access to a professional work resources. The open studio will showcase the newest collaboration album from me and our artist in residence, Lenell "Good Boy" Davis. Additionally, popular Chicago rap blogger Andrew Barber (FakeShoreDrive) will serve as host for the event and will lead a conversation about the making of the album. Light food and refreshments will be served.  This event is a featured program as a part of the City of Chicago's Annual Artist Month.  This year's series is entitled "The City as a Studio."  For more information visit

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Baahir Hassan

    • Mahrinah von Schlegel

    • James McLaughlin

    • Andrew Hunter

    • Obari Cartman

    • Marcelus Ross

    • Tariq Muttalib

    • Oliver Harris

    • Heather Davis

    • Jon Carroll

    • Norell Carter

    • James Flagg

    • ProfessU -

    • Marilyn Flynn

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Jeff Waters

    • Helen Evans

    • Dr. John Spruill III

    • Jerry Azumah

    • Shaka Campbell

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Jemel Mcwilliams

    • Alana Johnson

    • Ambri Williams

    • Jason Wiley

    • Leah Hobson

    • Michal Sela-Amit

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Cendrine Robinson

    • Aris Blossom

    • Rolando Mathias

    • Josh Cohen

    • Gabe Moskoff

    • Adrienne Irmer

    • Peter DeVaughn

    • AJ Willmer

    • Shimika Wilder

    • Billy Jones

    • marlin bottex

    • Christopher Paucek

    • Rasheedah Harris

    • Reggie Guy

    • Amanda Michelle Jones

    • Kristina Schau

    • Anonymous Supporter

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council