““Can I Kick It?”?" an original MPB production, is part of our agency's dropout prevention efforts. It is a series of testimonies from prominent Mississippians, past and present, which might influence potential dropouts to stay in school. Each individual gives his or her own testimony as a means of inspiring and raising the individual and collective self-esteem of young minority men and women who are at risk of dropping out of school and giving up on a productive future.
The series and series components encourage young people to stay in school by focusing on the interest and future of our youth, while addressing the numerous issues that affect the choice to stay in school. By partnering with schools, community organizations and the entertainment industry, we have created a support entity that will provide necessary resources to help young people continue the path of education through high school and beyond.
Can I Kick It features:
Andy Hardwick - a renowned jazz musician out of Vicksburg Mississippi. He's been playing since the age of 14. He's a regular fixture on the jazz music scene. Hardwick has managed to balance supporting his family and satisfying his passion for music.
Brad "Kamikaze" Franklin - rap artist, activist and entrepreneur. Host of JSU TV23's Direct Line and Co-host of the Edge.
C. Leigh McInnis - an instructor of English at Jackson State University, the publisher and editor of Black Magnolias Literary Journal, and the author of seven books, including four collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction and one work of literary criticism.
Dr. Freda Bush - an obstetrician/gynecologist in Jackson, MS. She has delivered over 10,000 babies.
Jeff Marshall - dropped out of high school just months before graduation. He recently returned to get his GED and is now working as a front end manager at I-hop. Jeff is also a community theater actor.
Nsombi Lambright - the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, community activist and mother.
Rob Jay - sports director at WLBT, host of an afternoon show on WKXI, Southern Soul Radio on the internet and he is JSU's play-by-play man for basketball and football.
AkilBakari - Community activist, organizer and entrepreneur AkilBakari realized his potential in high school and went to college upon graduation. Holding a degree in Information Technology, he now owns his own technology company and firmly believes in the necessity of completing high school.
Antonio Wright - As a football player at the age of 22, Antonio Wright's life changed when a car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. He has since gone on to develop programs that promote community empowerment through wheelchair sports and recreation, youth mentoring and connection with various advocacies for people with disabilities
Big K.R.I.T. - Although Def Jam recording artist Big K.R.I.T. started his career as a teenager, he decided early on he was going to finish school. It was during high school that he discovered his passion for music, a factor that would only fuel his desire to graduate and begin a successful career.
Chokwe Lumumba - Chokwe Lumumba is an attorney, city councilman and leader of the New Afrikan People’s Organization.
Davetta Cook Lee and Johnathan Lee - Davetta serves as an attorney in Mississippi and the Executive Director for the Access to Justice Commission, and Johnathan is the owner of Mississippi Products, Inc. Both believe that the first step in achieving your goals is to get a high school diploma and that it is possible to rise above your circumstances and find what you are meant to do.
Geraldine Brookins - Geraldine Brookins serves as president of Changing Dynamics, a management consulting firm in Jackson, Miss. Two weeks before her high school graduation, Geraldine’s mother passed away and she had to take care of her younger brother and sister. Now a psychologist in the Jackson area, she encourages young people to graduate from high school and not let challenges deter them from finishing.
Gloria Dickerson - Gloria Dickerson is the founder and CEO of “We Together Creating Change,” an organization committed to making sure children are successful. Growing up in poverty in the Delta in the 1960s, Gloria was considered an “at risk” student and determined to overcome her circumstances and have a better life. She credits her education with helping her find success in life.
Jason Pyimfamous Thompson - Jason is an MC, as well as a Co-Owner of Fahrenheit Creative Group & 106 Lounge. Growing up in a very poor area, it was difficult for him to see himself succeeding. He saw many of his peers drop out of school, but was inspired by his family to stay. He believes that education will open many doors and give young people the power to change their circumstances in life.
Skipp - Jackson-born artist Skipp barely graduated high school with a 1.4 grade point average. After a push from his mother, he enrolled in college and began to realize his abilities. He explains that education “separates average men from great
“Can I Kick It?”: Youth Movement through Media Institute
Launched by the National Black Programming Consortium, the Public Media Corps (PMC) is a new national public media service that helps local stations to forge relationships with underserved communities through content production, local events, and digital media training. As a PMC local station, Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) aimed to address the dropout crisis in Jackson by capturing youth voices and implementing digital media arts clubs in several local high schools, including Wingfield High School, Provine High School, Lanier High School, and Callaway High School.
The Public Media Corps of Jackson had the following goals:
MPB partnered with The Young People’s Project (YPP), United Way of the Capital Area, the Children’s Defense Fund Southern Regional Office, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Tougaloo College Owens Health and Wellness Center to achieve these goals. Through this collaboration, the Public Media Corps (PMC) of Jackson has given a much-needed voice to students in the community to address their concerns, obstacles, and successes. Not only students, but also the surrounding community, engaged to discuss and combat the dropout crisis and other areas of concern such as zero tolerance, suspension, state testing, literacy, and community involvement. The students conducted interviews in their neighborhoods and among their peers to obtain various perspectives on the importance of education.
Students were trained in the areas of production, digital literacy and storytelling, community engagement, and leadership development during a four-week summer institute at MPB in July 2012. The Institute was available to 50 local high school students, who worked in teams and developed mini-documentary projects. The students edited their pieces for the final production and held a viewing event to showcase their work to the community. In addition, the students established digital media arts clubs in their high schools and continue to create content and engage the community throughout the 2012-2013 school year.
Partners & Collaborators:
Mississippi Public Broadcasting
United Way of the Capital Area
The Young People’s Project
Children’s Defense Fund Southern Regional Office
Southern Poverty Law Center
Tougaloo College Owens Health and Wellness Center
Mississippi State Conference NAACP