Vince Staples is an artist with a history of speaking profoundly about his experiences and his troubled youth. His debut album Summertime ’06 is a chronicle of growing up too fast, losing friends to gang violence, and trying to escape a seemingly inescapable reality. While his music is a creative outlet for these ideas and feelings, he’s now taking these lessons and influences into his own actions.
On Tuesday, in his hometown of Long Beach, California, Staples helped to launch and show his support for a new initiative by the YMCA in Ramona Park – a location often referenced in Vince’s work. Called The Long Beach Institute, the program is set to teach twenty kids in years eight and nine all about graphic and product design, music production, 3D printing and filmmaking in the hope of stimulating their interest in the creative industries. Vince took some time to speak with the Long Beach Press-Telegram about why he felt he needed to be involved.
“I think the most important thing is opportunities. What I can say is, living over here my entire life, I’ve never had an opportunity given to me from the area, only examples of how to mess up, and what I didn’t want to do. I want to be able to be one of the people that reinforces the fact that we matter just as much as the next person. That’s actually the biggest thing I can do for this community.”
While gang culture is still incredibly prevalent within American society, it’s amazing to see that artists with experience, like Vince, are doing their part to give the next generation the opportunities and lives that they deserve. One can only hope that ten years down the line, we get the next Vince Staples out of The Long Beach Institute.
Read our review of Summertime ’06 here.
Check our photos of Vince live in Melbourne here.
Image: Long Beach Press-Telegram