Building the Community through Hip Hop

By Katrina Helmer
By Rachel Martin

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    A Better Fort, a local not-for-profit, films for their collaborative music video in front of the Rialto Theater in Fort Wayne.

    (Alex Smith)

2 photos

December 4, 2011 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 9:39 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- A Better Fort, a not-for profit organization, is promoting the Summit City by shooting a music video using fresh, creative talent and the help of multi-platinum rap artist, Mike Jones.

A Better Fort is kicking off their "Hip Hop for the City” project by shooting a music video to the song, “My City.”

A Better Fort is a charitable organization founded by Fort Wayne natives Alex Smith and Shane Araujo. A Better Fort supports, develops, and assists young adults personally, professionally, and spiritually through unconventional means of service and philanthropy. For the past two months, they’ve been shooting a music video for their original song “My City.”

“The song is about the community. It talks about Fort Wayne and it’s pretty much a showcase of the local talent and what the young adults here in Fort Wayne have to provide,” said Alex Smith.

“My City” was produced by Fort Wayne native, Chad Deutsch, and Houston-based, multi-platinum rap artist, Mike Jones is assisting with the project. Jones is best known for the 2005 hits like “Back Then” and “Still Tippin’”. The track is a collaboration of 19 local hip-hop artists, but the video will only include nine of them. The 2010 World Champion youth choir, Voices of Unity, will also be featured in the last chorus of the song.

“It’s the largest community-driven and collaborative hip-hop-based project that’s ever come out of Fort Wayne,” Smith said.

Sunday afternoon, local rapper, 2RQ, was shooting his part of the video on the Wells Street bridge. He said he is honored to be a part of the project.

“It’s bringing people of all races, colors, and creeds together to do something positive for the younger generation in the city,” 2RQ said.

2RQ said he’s glad A Better Fort created this project because it gave him and other artists the opportunity to work with each other. “And you meet a lot of new and younger artists on the scene,” 2RQ said.

Smith said this project is a way to keep and attract young, talented people to Fort Wayne and broaden their volunteer base.

“One of the most important things we do is make this organization attractive, so when people graduate, we don’t lose them to Chicago or Indianapolis,” Smith said. “There's no better way to do that than through hip hop. Hip hop has historically broken down barriers of culture and race. So we thought it'd be appropriate to showcase local talent, and hopefully through that people will get to know what is A Better Fort, what we do, and how they can get involved.”

Smith said the project will wrap in the next two weeks and the music video will be released in January. But in the meantime, Smith and his co-workers are looking for extras to be in the video. An open call will be held next Saturday, Dec 10, at 9 a.m. at Parkview Field.

“We encourage all the young adults to come out and be an extra for the video. It should be a great experience for everybody. Get involved and just have fun with it!” Smith said.

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