On this episode of Hip-Hop Can Save America!, aka, ‘the world’s smartest Hip-Hop podcast,” improving youth literacy, one book at a time — with a little Hip-Hop added to the mix. We hear from Jonathan Beatty aka the “Chief Bookman,” founder of I LOVE BOOKS, an apparel startup on a mission to end illiteracy.
Peace and love, friends, neighbors, supporters and haters, welcome back to Hip-Hop Can Save America! Aka the world’s smartest Hip-Hop podcast.
I’m Manny Faces. Fans and friends know that whenever I’m presented with a societal issue, problem or disturbing trend, any suggestion I have as to how to solve it will include, in some form or fashion, Hip-Hop.
Friends and family also know how much of a voracious reader I was as a child, something I attribute much of my ability and success to.
So for both of these reasons, it was a real pleasure to kick it with Jonathan Beatty, who left a career in finance pretty much because he saw a societal issue that he wanted to fix — illiteracy.
Stats are sobering. By one metric, nearly two-thirds of America’s fourth-graders are grade-level proficient in reading, and study after study suggests education stats across the board are even worse for students of color. And these trends don’t get corrected. 54% of adults lack literacy proficiency, a fact that could be causing real social and economic harm to the entire nation.
The I Love Books initiative seeks to change that, book by book, with an innovative promotional approach mixing apparel sales, live events, and Hip-Hop music and culture — including involving kids in the creation of the I Love Books anthem! The acclaimed program has been featured in the news, and is being applauded by the Memphis, Tennessee community where it’s based, though the program is being recognized across the world. Once I caught wind of it and since I love books and Hip-Hop, I had to find out more.
Now, before we get into it, I just want to let you all know that I’m making it easier for you to follow the Hip-Hop related content I produce, whether it’s this podcast, curating links to stories of interest, editorials, announcing speaking engagements and more. I’m putting that all under one roof so to speak — Please sign up for the “Words I Mannyfest” newsletter on Substack, at mannyfaces.substack.com. It’s free, but if you do choose to support my independent, high-level Hip-Hop related journalism, you can do that there as well.
Now, let’s get into it. Here’s my talk with Jonathan Beatty, of ILOVEBOOKS.org