by Davey D

We have to give major props to the Active Element Foundation which include Hip Hop and Youth activist like Jee Kim, Manuela Arciniegas, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Mathilda de Dios, Kofi Taha and Billy 'Upski' Wimsatt to name a few. They recently published and released a well researched resource guide called 'FUTURE 500' which profiles Youth Organizations and Hip Hop Activist groups from all over the country.

They were responding to a couple of things. First, they wanted the book to counter any notion about folks falling into the category of Generations, X, Y, Z or the Hip Hop Generation of being apathetic, uninformed and out of touch with the politics and needs of their community. Second, they were responding to the burgeoning numbers of groups that have been springing up all over the country who are aggressively and actively putting in work and trying to make a difference. Sadly many of these groups have had their work go under reported or have been completely ignored by mainstream media outlets and even more established mainstream organizations.

The Future 500 book was put out to serve as a great networking tool and allow people from various parts of the country to be aware, tap in and work with existing organizations. Far too often we wind up reinventing the wheel or duplicating efforts and fights because we had no idea there were people and organizations within our respective communities holding it down and doing similar work.

Upski admitted that the book is still a work in progress as they are still coming into contact and meeting more people and organizations that are out there making things happen. Future 500 is the first step of many things to come including a comprehensive website and eventually a 'political/voter resource guide'.

The book covers all sorts of diverse groups that are dealing with all sorts of issues ranging from 'gentrification' to 'gang issues' to 'corporate accountability' to 'police brutality'. They profile 25 youth activist from all over the country as well as giving a wonderful break down and assessment of how pressing issues facing our community are being addressed.

The organizations profiled in this book are broken down by states and from what I can see all 50 states were covered. They profile many of the better known Youth/ Hip Hop activist organizations like the Mos Def's and Talib Kweli's Nikiru Center for Education and Culture in Brooklyn. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Raptivism Records, Redeye Magazine, Youth Force and 'Lets Get Free' in Oakland to name a few.

The also dig deep and alert us to organizations and people who we may have overlooked. For example you will find that there is a 'Hip Hop Congress' organization in Bloomington, Indiana who have been holding it down in a major way for the past couple of years. There's a University of Hip Hop in Chicago that is also doing good work.There's a 'Young Warrior's Society' in Wyoming and a 'Hip Hop Generation' organization in Madison, Wisconsin

In Whitesburg, Kentucky there's a Hip Hop radio show and organization called 'From Holler to the Hood' [H2H]. They broadcast from the Appalachians where they focus Hip Hop activism, media, the prison industrial complex and the criminal justice system. A large part of their audience which they seek to reach are folks from urban areas who are incarcerated in the nearby rural prisons. They take their radio show to the streets by holding forums and doing collaborative radio projects. They also attempt to educate people about the similarities between Hip Hop and traditional Appalachian cultures.

In Greenville Mississippi there's an organization called YAPS [Youth As Public Speakers] that focuses on arts, African American culture, student rights and racial justice. These young brothas and sistas monitor the activities of their school district and try to reach out and show their peers how to organize and be compelling activists.

We could go on for days talking about all the organizations and people who are featured in this book. The book gets you pumped just knowing that there's all these different groups out there fighting for important causes and in many cases winning. The only thing that will get you angry is realizing how blatant the omissions of these groups and their work is at the hands of media gate keepers. For more information visit the website or email them at