POINCIANA — Not every parent is likely to consider hip hop to be appropriate music for the kids to be listening to, particularly if the first thing they think of from this kind of urban music is foul language or violent images in the lyrics.
But what if one local high school actually was sponsoring a very unique hip hop contest, one where the students were encouraged to create their own rap lyrics — but to make it as clean and wholesome as possible?
“We’ll be having a rap contest with the kids,” said Omar Warren. “They have to come up 16 bars of clean rap — just to show that it can be done.”
The contest will be at Poinciana High School on Friday. Doors open at 6:15 p.m., and then at 7, the celebrating begins.
But celebrating what?
“It’s called our S.W.A.G. tour,” Warren said. “It stands for Students Who Achieve Greatness.”
Warren is the chief strategy officer for 360 Entertainment International, which has been around for about a year, and employs the goal of using music and celebration as a way to encourage students toward positive achievements in their schools.
“Our mission statement is to utilize the influence of positive hip hop music to entertain, educate and empower the people of the world,” said Warren, who lives in Poinciana.
He’s also the driving force behind the 360 EI High School Invasion Tour, which is visiting Poinciana High on Friday, and will be showing up with a list of featured guests, including the Heartbeat Boys, Keven y Ery, Leegit and Tiger “The Hope Boy”.
Their reason for coming to this school is that the FCAT sessions are now over, and the expectation is that Poinciana High’s students will do well on the statewide standardized testing, which is why the tour is “celebrating Students Who Achieve Greatness — or S.W.A.G,” Warren said.
“We’ve been visiting schools in the local area of Central Florida,” he said, including Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, Liberty High in Poinciana, and Wood Middle School in Pine Hills.
“Now we’re doing Poinciana High, and next fall we’ll be doing 10 schools,” Warren said, adding that the celebration will be held in the school’s gym. This event isn’t open to the public, but is a special celebration just for the high school’s students.
“We’re out celebrating with the schools,” Warren said. “At Liberty, we celebrated them becoming a B school.”
The idea is really to click with the students and to give them an upbeat and positive way to look at their educational institutions — and what they’re able to accomplish there.
“It’s sort of a motivational tour to encourage them to do well, and we’ll come back and celebrate with them,” Warren said. “We bring our artists out, like Leegit and Tiger the Hope Boy. Those are two artists signed to our label. We’ll be having their dance team come out, and we have a breakdance with the students.
In addition to being a motivational tool, the tour also helps the foundation raise funds for scholarships that are given to students.
“The foundation stands for education, sports, arts and health care,” Warren said. “We were able to give two scholarhsips at Liberty High School.”
The reaction so far to the tour, he said, he been “incredible. The kids love it, the administration loves it. It gives them a tool to encourage the students.
“And the fact that our artists only do clean, commercial music — there’s no cursing, no derogatory comments about women, there’s no guns, no drugs, just good clean fun hip hop — makes it even better,” he added.
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