The Hip Hop Detoxx is a social, emotional and therapeutic learning program displaying a creative synthesis of writing, performance, music therapy, hip hop, pop culture and the science of self-improvement. It is a non-judgmental approach to confronting many of the difficult and troubling issues facing youth. The founder of the Hip Hop Detoxx answered questions by The Final Call’s Assistant Editor Ashahed M. Muhammad dealing with the many different facets of this program that has been effective at reaching the youth.
(Final Call) FC: What acted as the catalyst for the creation of Hip Hop Detoxx?
(Enoch Muhammad) EM: A combination of elements that go back to 1990 when I first began reading books like “Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter. G. Woodson, “Message To The Black Man” by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and “Stolen Legacy” by George G.M. James. This burst of information and consciousness began to combine with my background as a local performer in Chicago, my participation with Nation of Islam (N.O.I.) artist like Prince Akeem and the Mighty Task Force, who had songs at that time with Chuck D, Ice Cube and others, along with D.A. Smart, Star & Crescent, Reggie Reg, Kenny Muhammad, S.A.W., The Synister Mr. Black, NO I.D. and others.
This fusion pushed me to read books like “Blues People” by Leroi Jones and to apply the uniting power of arts and cultural expression by spearheading activities.
FC: What is the ultimate goal of Hip Hop Detoxx?
EM: To use the art and science of cultural expressions as a method of improving the present human condition; building in us the capacity to rise above the circumstances that have precipitated the social and emotional problems in our lives. We want the hip hop generation to become more aware, more conscious and more prepared to be the “saviour” that we were looking for by becoming more informed, more developed and more involved with the processes that enable human beings to be “response-able” in the solving of problems, conflicts and issues of this time.
FC: What is the most rewarding part of your work?
EM: Being fortunate to do this work throughout the city of Chicago at public elementary and high schools, colleges, universities, juvenile detention centers, conferences and conventions, as well as around the country in other cities, has been indeed a tremendous blessing. However, the most rewarding aspect of our work is experiencing young and old, struggling to be consistently engaged in the process of self-improvement, where they are acknowledging their mistakes, correcting their errors and becoming free from the prison of shame and guilt, which enables them to truthfully apply the principles of The Beneficent on a hourly basis, reflecting in their art form if they’re an artist, in their home life if they are parents or children.
FC: Has there ever been a difficult time where you were particularly frustrated or thought that you were going to give up and do something else? Sometimes, it can be difficult helping others.
EM: Yes. When I was younger spiritually and I thought that doing the Will of God was based on being rigid and full of proselytizing the “label” of my faith which led to an imbalance within myself and my taking part in religious gang-banging. It took time and humility for me to truly appreciate balance. Today, I am involved more than ever in the process of accepting my own and being myself. Doing Freedom work through the HHD is what I was born to do.
FC: What motivates and inspires you to continue?
EM: The All-Mighty Originator inspires me to move forward through the signs that I see in the behavior of myself, my family, my community and the world in general. Everyday I am learning that this is a divine plan that involves the process of growth, transition and evolution through time, places, events and people. This reality balances all critiques, compliments and approvals that come to me or the HHD, for it forces me to acknowledge without fail, exactly who it is, that I ultimately need to constantly seek recognition and validation from.
FC: How large do you envision Hip Hop Detoxx ultimately becoming?
EM: As large as All-Mighty God (Allah) permits it to be. Hip-Hop is a global phenomenon and the Hip-Hop Detoxx is a vehicle designed to serve Hip-Hop communities and those who are interested in the re-education and re-development of the young, the poor, the mis-educated and the ill-informed where ever they may be on the planet, regardless of color, creed or class.
FC: What is your next move? What are your plans for the future?
EM: Well, the first order of business is to release the DVD Hip-Hop Detoxx: “Be The Change, PART 1: Live at the Regal,” that occurred at the 2008 Saviours’ Day Convention. We are also looking for bookings from those who enjoyed the HHD at Saviours’ Day 2008 and would like for us to customize a presentation for their organization, festival, school, convention or event. We’re looking at potential tours where we will take the HHD edutainment workshop and motivational presentation for youth, parents and professionals on the road. We look forward to coming to the cities of those who witnessed and enjoyed the HHD during Saviors Day 2008. So, see you soon, hopefully in your city or a city near you.
FC: Thank you.