Dee Jay Doc is a hip-hop artist, youth cultivator and founder of the Refresh Collective (refreshcollective.org). In his 25 years as an MC (rapper), turntablist, producer and recording engineer he has performed hundreds of shows and helped over 5000 students write, record and perform their own songs. He created the Fresh Camp neighborhood summer hip-hop program in 2011 in his own neighborhood of Glenville. Now, it has grown into Refresh Collective, an arts and youth development non-profit organization operating in several neighborhoods. Their mission is to refresh the heart of the city one song, one shirt and one story at a time. Voted one of Cleveland’s 30 Most Interesting People in 2017 by Cleveland Magazine he to uses hip-hop to increase health and neighborhood vitality. Although this work started in his home, he has been able to open two neighborhood recording studio spaces called Fresh Labs that are now where most of the music and mentoring takes place.
Hip-hop began as a community art form. Dee Jay Doc creates music to refresh the heart of the city. He architects programs to empower the community to do the same. Most of his work is created alongside his students because everything is better when we come together. Health is not a state but a direction. Community health can be directed by each of us. Performances take us on walks together, through the neighborhood to build bridges, breathe life, instill courage, and provoke action. This increases health. Songs are stones written to knock down the giants of racism, commercialism, complacency and fear. Each song is flung to knock down stereotypes and challenge the listener to act where they can. A song can be a bridge to grow mutual understanding between people. A song can exhale real-life experience to prove we are not alone in our struggle. A song can be a lion’s roar to provoke change where change is needed. A song can speak deeply to the soul and become a glass of fresh water to the thirsty.