Mid-South Hero: Memphian aims to ‘Heal the Hood’
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - This month’s Mid-South hero is determined to change the lives of our city’s youth, using one of the most influential tools available – the arts.
LaDell Beamon is no stranger to the struggles of growing up in the inner city. But advice from a friend at a young age, forever changed his trajectory.
“One of my friends told me in the 6th grade--he said, ‘either you’re gonna be here with the rest of the guys and get caught up in what everybody else is doing, or you know you can either pick a sport or grab an instrument.’ And I was just really blessed and fortunate to be able to escape out of not being caught up in any of that, and music was my thing that got me out of that situation.”
From the power of the Arts, LaDell started the Heal the Hood Foundation when he was 19 years old, an organization that has now worked with thousands of young boys and girls to help them realize their potential through artistic endeavors.
“Our whole platform is to be able to use the arts. One of the most influential things right now in society is the arts, and so Heal the Hood is all about being able to use programs but it’s based on the arts, we connect with kids where they are so we can take them to the next level,” Beamon said. “Anything arts-related, from martial arts, instrumental music, acting, drama, film, comic art – which we even created our own animated comic book series – but all things that are arts based, we create programming around because you have some talented kids in the city of Memphis that are doing some amazing things.”
Heal the Hood has even attracted national attention, working with celebrities like hip-hop artist Master P, actor Robert Townsend, and more.
In addition to their mobile programs and animated comic book series, LaDell hopes to further expand Heal the Hood’s work, with eventual plans for a theme park right here in Memphis called the Hero Empowerment Center.
“At the core, some of these kids just wanna be a kid again, so the Hero Empowerment Center is crucial right now to crushing a lot of the crime and violence and It’ll be just like St. Jude is with kids for cancer, it’s gonna be for kids with a hidden cancer. We may not be able to physically see it, but there are some social and emotional issues that our kids are dealing with, but if they can just stop dealing with all the crimes and the violence and the negative lifestyles that’s going on in their households for one minute – if they can escape for one minute – imagine what we can pour into them if their minds are empty of all that stress for one moment.”
“If all of us say ‘It’s Me’ that has to create a solution for the problems…if everybody does that, the world would be so much more peaceful and blissful, if everybody does that and says, ‘it’s me that gonna be the change that I wanna see.’”
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