The Academy


DC’s pre-vocational Hip-Hop program for youth ages 13-23.

We harness and protect a sacred space of creativity through instruction in all the artistic forms and practices of Hip-Hop Culture.

Our interactive classes in the core elements of hip-hop annually enroll 150-225 students in the DC Metro area. Our program is free of charge to all participants. Each session lasts 8-10 weeks.

Our Master Arts Instructors guide Academy apprentice students as a learning community working towards realizing success in our five foundational outcomes: Skill-Set Mastery, Employability, the Pursuit of a Post-Secondary Education, Community, and Self Mastery. At the heart of all that we do is the belief that an education based in Hip-Hop can serve as a wedge between hope and despair for DC youth. Our Master Level Artist instructors integrate innovative Hip-Hop curriculum and youth development principals to create such a wedge. Through an Apprentice based education rooted in Hip-Hop culture, the staff and volunteers of the Words Beats & Life Academy work closely with the Apprentices as both instructors and mentors.


Please note that class offerings vary.

Classes are offered in 8-10 weeks sessions throughout the year. Each session has its own overarching theme that bridges all of the classes together, encouraging students to think critically about their art and the world that surrounds them. Please note that enrollment is only open at the beginning of each session.

Our schedule is closely aligned with the DCPS quarters and a summer session.  The Academy follows both the Federal Government & DCPS school calendar for holidays & vacation, and weather related closings. If either DCPS or the Federal Government closes early as a result of inclement weather, classes will be canceled.


Classes, Requirements and Locations

Class descriptions, locations and times of classes are listed for each course in the tabs below.

Enrolling in the Academy requires a commitment on the part of each students to attend 80% of classes in order to remain enrolled. We work towards 5 outcomes, all of which take time and dedication. Our Master Artists work with young artists to develop their skills as artists. We support them in their journeys towards employability or entrepreneurship by developing portfolios, resumes, and more.

The Foundation (1525 Newton St NW) [Columbia Heights Metro]

The Spot (5200 Foote St NE) [Rhode Island Ave Metro]

Ron Brown High School (4800 Meade St NE)  [Deanwood Metro]



Important Dates
St. Stephen’s Fall Schedule:
September 12-November 8| Monday-Friday 6:00-9:00PM
Riverside Fall Schedule:
September 14-November 8  | Monday/Wednesday 4:00-6:00PM

To schedule your participation call 202-667-1192 or email

How to Enroll

Enrollment for the each session takes place at the end of the previous session and during the first two weeks of each session.  For more information about what classes are offered at each location, call and speak with a member of our staff at 202-667-1192 or e-mail

Application for Enrollment

 UG Hiphop Archivist

MC’ing, DJ’ing, Beat Production, Spoken Word, B-Boying/B-Girling, Hip-Hop Dance, Theater of Hip-Hop

Visual Arts GTG
Graffiti, Street Art, Fine Art, Videography, Photography

WBL life skills academy page
Chess, Our Block Community Service Project, College Material Program

Professional Development Academy page
All City Showcase, Jam Session Monthly Student Showcase,  The Living Classroom, Alternative Winter Break, Alternative Spring Break, Portfolio Development, The Creative Core, Creative Economy Internship Fairs


Fall Session 2016 [Community]The Community Session 2016 (Open Studio w/Guest Artists & Performances)Winter Session 2017Mini Session 2017 (Open Studio w/Guest Artists & Performances)Alternative Spring BreakSpring Session 2017 [The Hustle]Summer Session 2017
  • September 12th First Day of Classes @ St. Stephen’s
  • September 12th Re-Thinking High School Town Hall @ St. Stephen’s Church
  • September 14th First Day of Classes @ Riverside
  • September 17th Our Block Community Cleanup (Req Community Service)
  • October 29th Our Block Community Cleanup (Halloween Themed!)
  • November 2nd DC Youth Poet Laureate
  • November 3rd-6th WBL Teach-In
  • November 5th Bum Rush the Boards Chess Tournament
  • November 7th The Getdown (Open House)
  • November 9th Last Day of Classes @ St. Stephen’s/Riverside
  • November 10th-12th Chicago Teach In
  • November 10th Winter Session Registration Open
  • November 12th Slam Qualifier #1
  • November 14th Preforming Arts All City Rehearsal
  • November 15th Visual Arts All City Rehearsal
  • November 16th All City Student Showcase and Apprentice Induction
Note: This Session is Exclusive to Apprentice Students

  • November 28th Start of Open Studio Session/College Material Launch
  • November 28th Capital City Cypher/Visual Arts Gallery Show @ St. Stephen’s Church
  • November 28th DJ Jam Session @ Bloom Bars
  • November 29th-December 1st  Hustlenomics
  • November 30th Marketing Workshop
  • December 3rd Give the Gift Student Art Garage Sale
  • December 22nd End of The Community Session
  • January 3rd Start of Winter Session
  • January 13th Winter Session Applications Due
  • February 3rd-10th Portfolio Review
  • February 16th Love What you do, Do What You Love (Valentines Career Conversations)
  • March 10th Last Day of Classes
  • March 11th Our Block Cleanup
  • March 11th Slam Qualifier #2
  • March 12th  Spring Session Registration Open
  • March 13th All City Rehearsals @St. Stephens
  • March 15th All City

Note: This Session is Exclusive to Apprentice Students

  • March 20th Start of Mini Session
  • April 1st National Poetry Month Video Slam Opens
  • April 7th Final Day to Register for Alternative Spring Break
  • April 14th Spring Applications Due/Last Day of Mini Session
  • April 17th Richmond
  • April 18th DC
  • April 19th Philly
  • April 20th NoVA
  • April 21st NYC
  • April 22nd Baltimore
  • April 24th First Day of Classes
  • April 27th Voting for National Poetry Month Video Slam Opens
  • April 29th Paint Jam—Our Block (as event volunteers or pre-event setup)
  • April 30th Winners of National Poetry Month Video Slam Announced
  • May 1st – 7th Louder Than a Bomb
  • May 6th Funk Parade
  • May 13th Grand Slam, DMV Youth Slam Team Announced
  • May 20th Our Block
  • May 21st Summer Session Registration Open
  • May 22nd-31st Portfolio Review
  • June 2nd Final Day of Classes (School Year)
  • June 7th All City (Awarding Scholarships)
  • June 19th-26th rehearsals for Phife is Living @St. Stephens
  • June 24th Our Block
  • July 1st Phife Is Living (Showcase and Performance)
  • July 8th Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival Trip
  • July 10th First Day of Summer Session
  • July 11th-16th Brave New Voices Trip
  • July 22nd Our Block
  • August 4th Last Day of Summer Session
  • August 11th End of Summer BBQ
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