History and Priorities

[clear-line] [one-third-first]Words Beats & Life began as a conference at the University of Maryland in the fall of 2000; founders  worked to create a vehicle to transform individual lives and communities through Hip-Hop. In 2003, WBL was incorporated as a nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status in the District of Columbia and began its first program, the Saturday Arts Academy, which is now known as the Words Beats & Life Academy.

Our programming is rooted in four priorities:

  • Education:  Hip-Hop is a powerful teaching tool because it engages people intellectually, creatively and socially.
  • Opportunity:  Educators, artists, activists and scholars in Hip-Hop require access to the tools and information necessary to transform their skills, knowledge and experiences into tangible individual and community development.
  • Ownership:  Artists and communities should be the primary owners of the cultural artifacts they produce, archive and present.
  • Creativity:  Educators, artists, activists and scholars develop and protect environments of innovation.
[/one-third-first] [one-third]


[/one-third] [one-third]

Words Beats & Life has a holistic approach to youth, and community development that involves Hip-Hop artists, scholars, educators, activists, and allies.  Hip-Hop is a set of artistic forms and cultural practices created to transform the lives of individual artists and their respective communities.  By valuing Hip-Hop as a community of cultural practitioners, we affirm the  value of both the art and the artists themselves.  At the heart of all  we do is the belief that  for its parishioners and participants Hip-Hop often serves as  the catalytic difference between despair and aspiration. Our staff and community partners develop curriculum, projects, and events geared specifically towards building individual and community capacity.  The Words Beats & Life Academy offers free,  vocational arts programing for youth ages 13-23 in the District of Columbia.  Building confidence and skills in our young people, our programs engage them to think critically and aim to connect their interests with educational opportunities.   In addition, WBL hosts The Cipher, an international network of Hip-Hop based organizations, projects, scholars, and events; connecting and convening the field to share new ideas and best practices.




Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options