It’s very rare you come across people that say they want to do something and actually get to moving to do what they have to do to follow what others may consider “a pipe dream”. Of those few people that aren’t scared to pursue what may seem like unrealistic to most is Raheem ‘Skillz’ Harrington.
Now this story is personal to me because I’ve physically witnessed this idea come to life in such a short amount of time. Skillz came up to me a few months ago telling me about this grand vision he had to start a movement that involves his passion for dance. In that movement he wanted to be able to provide an outlet for teenagers from inner city neighborhoods to give them something to do while also providing an intimate family-like atmosphere between him and the dancers. I told him what I always tell anyone – go for it. Life is to short to be sitting hoping and wishing for a dream to become a reality. You have to actually be willing to make yourself vulnerable and put yourself out there and just work. He took it in and didn’t waste a second, he got to working with recruiting teenagers at the performing arts school he works in; then Real Entertainment Dance was born. Because with how teenagers are, word began to spread like wildfire throughout the high school about the R.E.D. movement.
What I find most admirable about Skillz is the fact that he doesn’t waste time for anything. He would
always come to me, asking for advice for his next move and within a matter of days (sometimes hours) he’s working on his next project. He’s recently launched a R.E.D. apparel line that seems to be a ‘must have’ for teenagers around Philadelphia. Once they get their hands on their R.E.D. wear they immediately are uploading photos on their social media networks showing pride to even be a part of something so grand.
What initially started as something catered just towards dancers, has now grown into a full blown out movement for anyone that wants to be a part of the R.E.D. family. For those that don’t dance, Skillz will eventually host dance workshops but until then everyone is there to just show support for the cause itself.
As a dedication for Black History Month, he’s recently released a video via YouTube dancing a piece to ‘Oh Freedom’
“It’s time for us to speak for our ancestors through out dancing. It’s time for us to show them and to show people how they felt during this time and how they felt to be free. It’s time for us to stand up and be a community and stop killing each other!”
Being able to personally witness how much R.E.D. has grown just these past months alone, I couldn’t be more proud of Skillz. He has teenagers from all around Philadelphia eager to join R.E.D., eager to wear R.E.D. apparel, eager to just say they are a part of something so strong and inspirational.
Just keep pushing forward Skillz! Can’t wait to see you continue to blossom and grow.
To attest to his movement, you may follow Skillz on Instagram: @IAMSKILLZ_
Check out R.E.D.’s latest video, a tribute to Black History Month.
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Now signing off with the reminder: Don’t wait for the world to recognize your greatness, live it and let the world catch up to you.
Many Unite for R&B Holiday Benefit Concert To Raise Funds for Philadelphia’s Ronald McDonald House
On Thursday, December 20th, several local R&B artists joined forces for the inaugural R&B Holiday Benefit Concert. This year’s showcase, held at Philadelphia’s historic Trocadero Theatre, benefited families being supported by Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.
This Holiday Benefit Concert was a labor of brotherly love, with every single event organizer and performing artist involved having direct Philly ties. Attendees were serenaded with hits from each emerging artist as well as several of their favorite holiday classics such as “Joy to the World,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Silent Night” and more. This year’s concert lineup included:
- Julian King – contemporary R&B artist fresh off a concert tour in China
- Star Castillo – Trenton native with the ability to fuse R&B, Pop and Soul into her renditions
- Judaea – previous America’s Got Talent contestant and rising R&B star
- Good Girl – R&B quartet from Philly striving to revive and lead the next girl group era
- Audrey Jackson – internet darling, R&B songstress and head of It’s All Music, The Movement LLC
- M!SHEL – Armenian and Jewish singer / songwriter powerhouse heralding from the suburbs of Philadelphia
“We could not be more excited to be able to come up with such a fun and engaging way to give back to our community,” says event organizer and host Delilah Dee of Delilah & Co. “Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what’s truly important during the holiday season so I’m grateful that I, alongside Revli Management, AB Media Group and Kelsi with an Eye, were able to rally together to organize this showcase benefitting the families of Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.
All those involved decided a month before show date they wanted to team up to give back to a local organization while also providing a platform for local talent. In less than a month, a venue was secured, non-profit organization was selected, artist line up and vendors were finalized for the concert. Not sure how the turn out would be since the team only had a short amount of time to put together this event, it is safe to say all involved felt a deep sense of gratitude to see that the community supported the initiative – the concert ended up being a sold out event.
What a great way to close out 2018.
#delilahcotv x Shaquille Tyrell Presents Black & Latinx Mixer
Poet, Michael Phillips, Breaks Down in Front of Students at his Alma Mater
Michael Phillips agreed to speak to students at his alma mater, Community Academy of Philadelphia, CS (CAP) about Black History and being Black in America. Little did he know, this would be an emotional full circle moment for him.
Phillips has been doing spoken word for quite a few years now. Although he’s performed around the East Coast, he mainly takes to his social media to speak about race and love issues in a poetic way. He speaks highly of a creative writing teacher at CAP, who is the sole purpose behind his love for poetry.
“Ms. Vázquez is the reason why I’ve been able to do what I love since high school. She really made me appreciate poetry as a creative outlet to release any and all pain I’ve felt internally. I’m thankful for her”
Phillips confidently went into various classrooms from grades 5-8, along with some high school classrooms to perform his spoken word pieces. It wasn’t until he entered Ms. Vázquez’s room, the very person who inspired him to do poetry in the first place, that he sort of – broke down. It was a full circle moment for him, in that he saw himself as a student who too once sat in those same seats, without a clue as to what it would mean being a Black man growing up in America after high school.
He hopes that through his words, he is able to inspire the minority community to come together and appreciate themselves from within. Phillips wants the youth to know they have the power to change the world, to start thinking about what they can do presently that can essentially positively impact future generations to come.
Check out the video below:
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