Each month our students attend our Community Role Model event at our Benson Center Gym. Each event features an inspirational speaker who shares their successes and struggles with our students. This month's speaker speaker's name was Samuel Johns. He spoke about his experiences growing up in a rural village in Alaska (dealing with loss, alcoholism, depression), and how he overcame this. Today he is the founder of a non-profit called Forget Me Not, which works to provide support to the homeless population in Anchorage. On top of all of this he uses positive rap as a way to create social change/cope, so he shared one of his poems with us as well.
The Forget Me Not Facebook page can be accessed here: www.forgetmenotak.org if you want to check out more of what he's doing. Below is a short biography from his website (http://www.akrebelution.com/about.html)
"A little about my life.
I live in Anchorage, Alaska.
God truly blessed me with some amazing kids & a beautiful wife.
If you want to know where I came from,
I grew up in Copper Center, Alaska.
A beautiful community off of the Richardson Highway, full of beautiful people.
It's the place where my dad raised my sisters & I.
We were blessed to have a dad that didn't lived a sober lifestyle. He showed us love on a daily basis.
My grandfather was the traditional chief & Pastor of our church.
His name was Harry Johns Sr.
While growing up, he was a major influence to my cousins & I.
He was a man that was well known across Alaska .
I highly respected my grandpa Harry, I remember all of the plaques on the wall with his name on them, I remember when they dedicated a building to him here in Anchorage. His face is still there by the front door of that building.
As I got older, after my grandpa passed away, I realized that no one can ever fill his shoes, so I made up my mind,
When I got older, I wanted to create my own legacy.
Today, I'm a little different, I don't really care for creating my own legacy, I just want to inspire people to make the right choices in life.
Why did I choose to rap.
I grew up listening to rap music, some of it stuck, some of it was forgotten. But one thing I noticed, rap music was very influential.
I respected how my favorite rappers were original with there lyrics.
After reading a few poems written by Tupac, it inspired me to get into poetry. After getting into poetry, I started finding ways to rap the words that I wrote in my poems.
It took some time, but I'm finally getting some rhythm.
Who are my major influences, when it comes to music.
I really liked how Tupac rapped about stuff that mattered.
I think that's what makes his music timeless. He brings up real topics that moved people in a powerful way.
Eminem really inspired me to use my personal experiences in life to relate to the people that would take the time to listen to whatever I create.
I really respect that about Eminem. He used his own life to get where he was today. He did so in a inappropriate way, but I respect the fact that he stayed true to himself.
When you listen to most rappers, they give you a fantasy of what they want & what they want there listeners to believe they have. It's not necessarily staying true to themselves or their listeners.
So when I make music, I like to speak on real issues in a powerful way, while at the same time, staying true to myself."