February 21, 2016

The ReUp Rap Contest that Healed the Hood

When yet another senseless crime took the life of an inner-city teen and struck at the heart of yet another community, news anchor Charlene Israel (now Charlene Aaron), realized she had to do something. So she got together with some other very good people from her community and started The ReUp Rap Contest. The ReUP is a hip-hop competition designed to promote change in the 7 Cities area of Virginia. This extremely important first step launched an amazing community initiative that changed the lives of many young men and touched many others in her community.


"The ReUp" is a documentary film about that competition. It was filmed and edited by Lion'El with music by A-Rock and Just Archie. The film follows the evolution of the hip-hop competition and represents over a year of hard work, heartache, blood, sweat, and tears to create. It is a beautiful story of a community's trauma and loss. It's also the story of the actions people took to heal and support their kids and their community.

It's well worth your time to watch and actually witness the changes as street kids become proud, new young rappers. They have different levels of skill, but each of them has a powerful, often emotional story to tell. You'll hear lyrics of anger, sadness, and hopelessness, which wouldn't have otherwise been expressed. We would have been left with a pressurized and angry young man in the street. I'm reminded of the quote from Dr. William Pollack, author of the book, Real Boys, when he said, “If we don’t let our boys cry tears, they’ll cry bullets.” In this documentary, you'll hear how The ReUp has allowed these young guys to finally have a voice, a way to speak the truth about their lives that we all need to hear.

Warning: The full YouTube video (below) will only be available for a short time.

If this clip doesn't show up use this link.

Rules of The ReUp Rap contest:
Lyrical content must not contain:
swearing, violence/gunplay
objectification of women and other negative imagery.
Overall theme: "Love Your Neighbor"

Like the news anchor Charlene Aaron, Just Archie, also known as Archie "Van" Boone, is a powerful and creative youth advocate and educator. His music forms some of the background for the film. He believes in rap as an art form and a communication tool that can speak to the challenged youth in our cities. Archie is the founder of R.A.P Therapy and co-founder of The Shoutout Music Therapy Program. You can contact Archie Boone at itsjustarchie@yahoo.com and purchase music by A-rock and Just Archie at this link.

. . . they heard a more powerful call to do something
to support all "our" kids
and their communities.

Archie "Van" Boone is a one-man tour-de-force, positively and relentlessly influencing young lives and bettering his community. Charlene Aaron also stepped up because "we have to do something!" Because of their courage and willingness to act, people like Archie and Charlene are my Man-Making heroes. They are just like you, except maybe they heard a more powerful call to do something to support all "our" kids and their communities.

Blessings on Archie, Charlene, and all of the other heroes and sheroes who take action . . . and also blessings on those of you who will be inspired to "do something" in your community.


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  1. Thanks Your Earl for being a source for man-making tools and sharing this movement nationwide.

  2. Thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of the kids in your community. As I said in the post, you are my hero!


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