[VIDEO] Teens Remix The News In Projects In North Carolina And Beyond

Feb 17, 2014

Pierce Freelon (left) and Apple Juice Kid with students from the community
Credit Beat Making Lab

In an after-school project called "Re-Mixing the News" a group of middle and high school students from Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC, take WUNC news reports and add inspiration: beats, sound effects, and music. They create a fresh, new take on traditional journalism in the Beat Making Lab.

In February 2013, the students listened this story by reporter Jeff Tiberii about the passing of civil rights pioneer Franklin McCain:

The six students then worked with beatmakers and educators Pierce Freelon, Stephen Levitin (aka Apple Juice Kid), and Ryan Levin to take Jeff's original story and add their own soundtrack.  Here's the result:

The students who worked on the audio for the McCain story are:

Xavier Al-Mahmoud, age 17, sophomore at Carrboro High School
Kalil "Prodageez" Davis, age 17, junior at Carrboro High Shcool
Coleman "Lil Echo" Davis, age 17, junior at Carrboro High School
Simon "DJ SIMZ" Lee, age 16, Chapel Hill High School
Uriah "nef" Shaw, age 15, freshman at East Chapel Hill High School
Alex Smith, age 14, 8th grader at Smith Middle School

About The Founders And The Origins Of The Project

Apple Juice Kid (left) and Pierce Freelon; Beat Making Lab co-founders
Credit Beat Making Lab

Pierce Freelon is front man of the genre-bending The Beast, hailed as a "natural, engaging blend of jazz and hip hop," by Jazz Times Magazine. Apple Juice Kid has created beats for major recording artists including Mos Def, Wale and MC Lyte. They teamed up to create a project for teens.

The Beat Making Lab project started as a class at UNC-Chapel Hill, and then evolved into a worldwide phenomenon. Their "lab" is portable. It includes a laptop, a keyboard and a microphone.

Global Beat Making

The Beat Making Lab shows up anywhere: in Chapel Hill or Africa. They take out their gear and help kids make beats.

Take a look at a lab they did in Goma, DR Congo:

Back To North Carolina, Late Winter Early Spring 2014

In recent weeks, students in North Carolina have been working on two documentaries and a music video project as well. We will release those videos in the coming weeks.

This project is a part of American Graduate - Let's Make It Happen, a public media initiative aimed at addressing the drop out crisis.  It's made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.