CLEVELAND — Just like the tracks Patrick Warner lays down in the recording studio that still need a beat to make a finished song, Warner says he’s needed a little help in his 22 years.
“I mean, to be 100 percent honest, I don’t know if I’d be alive,” said Warner.
Maurice Philpott goes by his artist name, “Los P.” and grew up near Warner.
“The statistics say I’d be dead or in jail,” said Los. “So yeah, it’s that deep.”
Both say violence and drugs threaten their east side neighborhoods all the time.
But music can be a way out.
“At first, it was just a hobby and then I had a lot of family issues going on and it went from being a hobby to being very therapeutic for me,” said Warner.
That’s where Dee Jay Doc Harrill and his nonprofit, Refresh Collective, comes in.
The group helps students like Warner and Los build on their raw passion, which creates a sense of pride in the neighborhoods they come from.
“A lot of times other people drive by and think, ‘I don’t know about that neighborhood. I don’t there there’s anything there for me,” said Harrill. “So it’s our job to promote the fresh, promote what’s healthy.”
Refresh Collective has four main parts:
- Fresh Camp – Free hip-hop summer camp
- Fresh Voice – In-school songwriting residencies
- Fresh Force – Workforce development
- Fresh Lab – Hip-hop makerspace
Fresh Camp teaches students how to write a song and perform. Fresh Force teaches students about running a business through the group’s clothing line. The newly-opened Fresh Lab combines the two, selling shirts in the front of the shop with a recording studio in the back.
Recording music and modeling the clothing line has helped Los P. reach out to youngsters in his Buckeye neighborhood, setting a good example.
“It’s challenging because it’s not always accepted and people don’t always like change,” said Los P.
He and Warner are also giving back through the collective as counselors at the Fresh Camps over the summer. Warner says he mentors soft-spoken kids with something to say through music like the one he used to be.
“If they want to get something off their chest, then I just try to support them in any way that I can,” said Warner.
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Article Courtesy of WEWS News 5 Cleveland
First Picture Courtesy of Simone Becchetti and Getty Images
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