Hip Hop for Humanity L.A. Canned Food Drive
Angela H. Rodriguez
Photo credit: Mads The Hated
As with the previous drives, those who donate five cans of food will receive hip hop goodie bags filled with CDs, t-shirts, posters, and more.
It's a great event -- you should take part. For more, we spoke with Angela H. Rodriguez, founder and director of the organization, who also raps under the name Teno.
What made you want to get involved with helping the homeless and the hungry in L.A.?
I [used to] drive to work at four o'clock in the morning... It was pitch dark, and I was driving by Skid Row and I saw little kids. Some of the little kids looked like they were barefoot and they're kicking around a soccer ball. And I was like, 'It's four o'clock in the morning. It's cold out. It's dark. And there are whole families on the street.' I just remember feeling, 'This is not right.' Every human being deserves to have shelter from the elements, sustenance, and a safe environment to grow into a productive member of society. And I've kind of been feeling [the desire to do something about it] since that point.
What the response been like for the food drive?
In 2011 we had the first drive and it was extremely successful. L.A. Regional Food Bank gave us six boxes to fill. We filled all six and then we still had about double in extra boxes of food that people were bringing in. I was blown away. I cried. It was amazing and I was so grateful to everyone who showed up. And they were thanking me; they were thanking us for giving them an opportunity to help. That's what I think is really driving Hip Hop for Humanity: a majority of people really want to help.
What are the plans for Hip Hop for Humanity L.A. in the future?
I thought about having hip hop show in the future, like maybe for next year's drive. I just know that it takes a lot of organization. It takes city permits, alcohol permits, and security. So I would want to go into it being really well prepared. And I think that would be really great. If we're able to grow and raise more funds I definitely think that will [happen].
Do you think hip hop artists need to do more in terms of volunteering?
Absolutely... If bigger name artists were to take a stand and create organizations that were improving impoverished areas I think we'd see a movement towards building a sense of responsibility for our own conditions... I look at artists like Dr. Dre who, with Jimmy Iovine, is just starting the school of music at USC. I think that's phenomenal. It's going to do amazing things as far as moving forward the genre of hip-hop music and respect for hip-hop music, not only as an art form, but also as an entrepreneurial avenue. I feel like [established artists] could do the same for community outreach.
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