Common, Kanye West & Rhymefest To Host First Annual “AAHH! Fest” To Help Curb Chicago Gang Violence

Common, Rhymefest and Donnie Smith

Common, Rhymefest and Donnie Smith

Donda’s House Inc. and The Common Ground Foundation have announced the launch of an Annual Music Festival, The AAHH! FEST, with proceeds from the Festival supporting the Common Ground Foundation, Donda’s House, Inc., Arts Education in Chicago Public Schools, and Year-Round Youth Jobs initiatives.

The organizations made the announcement at a press conference this week that included Common and fellow rapper/Community Activist Che “Rhymefest” Smith.  Rhymefest is also the creative director of Kanye West’s Donda’s House, Inc.

“Donda’s House Inc. is thrilled to partner with the Common Ground Foundation & Chicago Urban League along with several other community organizations across the city to host Open Mics, giving youth the opportunity to express themselves in a safe and nurturing event. Talented youth will be selected to showcase at the AAHH!! Festival in September” said Donnie Smith, Executive Director of Donda’s House, Inc.

The AAHH! FEST, will be held September 20-21, 2014 at 6300 S. Hayes Drive. Day One will feature a diverse, all-star line-up of talent from across the country and Chicago. Day Two, will be curated by Kanye West’s foundation, Donda’s House, and showcase Chicago’s aspiring talent. The AAHH! FEST will also host a job-shadowing program, which allows youth to learn operations connected to producing a high-level outdoor special event.

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“I am very proud to be where we are.  I know what a job can do for a human being. It takes up your time for something productive. If we get these kids jobs, I guarantee: we’ll see less crime in the streets. But we have to be the change. With the joining of these great organizations, we hope to continue the efforts of so many other organizations and the City of Chicago to create opportunities throughout the year for our youth and challenge our city to do even more on the ground. Our efforts will culminate in a musical celebration every year that will include resources offered to Chicago kids, directly related to placing them with an opportunity that can provide them hope and stability,” says Common.

The Open Mics start this Saturday, April 12th at the The ARK of St. Sabina, and will be co-hosted by different community organizations and businesses around the city of Chicago leading up to the festival. In addition to the ARK of St. Sabina,  Community Partners include:

– Alternatives Inc. (Uptown)
– Du Jour Cafe (Pilsen)
– Lupe Fiasco Foundation
– RAGE (Resident’s Association of Greater Englewood) (Englewood)
– Red Clay Dance (Fuller Park)
– University of Illinois at Chicago Art & Art History Department (Near West Side)
– WYS Chatham Academy High School (Chatham & Roseland)

Organizations who would like to co-host Open Mics are encouraged to e-mail dondashouseinc@gmail.com. Youth (ages 15 – 24) who would like to audition for the festival are encouraged to come out to one of the Open Mics. Please see the complete schedule here: http://dondashouseinc.org/open-mic/. For the latest updates from Donda’s House Inc., follow them on Twitter/Instagram: @dondashouse.

Other partners helping support AAHH! Fest, Arts Education in Chicago Public Schools, and Year-Round Youth Jobs initiatives also include  the Chicago Urban League, Alternative Schools Network (ASN),Centers for New Horizons, Chicago Jobs Council, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago.

Follow us on Twitter@HipHopEnquirer and Michael “Ice-Blue” Harris @IceBlueVA

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