Nuneaton teacher to bring together UK's top hip hop talent to help struggling kids

James Bennett, furthest right, with the talented artists who will turn teachers for his 'Hip Hop Healing' project
-Credit: (Image: John Bray)

A Nuneaton teacher is on a mission to help struggling school kids - by using 'hip hop'. James Bennett, who is behind the Reel People community group, is launching what he has said is a campaign which aims to change education through hip-hop culture.

Graffiti artists , street artists, beat boxers, break-dancers multi-sports teachers, a DJ and music production teachers, photography and film making, fine art and also some well known rappers will turn teachers to help youngsters through the 'hip hop healing' project.

Mr Bennett, whose Reel People community group have been behind numerous incredible street murals as well as festivals and events in the town, says bringing the 'hip hop' talent together will help students that are struggling in mainstream school, college or university.

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"There is a big problem with thousands of young people sitting in isolation units all around the country finding it hard to access the curriculum because of special educational needs or circumstances at home," he said. "This project is aimed to work with these kids and young adults teach them about mindset training, mindfulness, meditation and the law of attraction and helping them to achieve their goals so they can achieve their dreams and turn their passions into sustainable work in the future ,as all the teachers have that are going to be teaching on this project."

He has either taught or mentored the 'hip hop project teachers' which include Jack Irving, who runs the big Mad Antics drum and base nights and Callum Constant, who is one of the UK's top body poppers who has appeared in the film Magic Mike.

Also Katie O, who has created amazing murals not only in Nuneaton but across the country, as well as Chonky Beats, a top beat boxer who has appeared in movies and TV. Also Lil Choppa, a grime musician, who has produced tracks with Skepta, Jae Kae and Soxs and been on tour with Big Nasty.

Finally, Jai Hickling, another breakdancing talent, who has staged breakdance festivals with the Reel People group and has also performed with Calvin Harris, Rag and Bone man, and Robbie Williams.

He said that there will big showcase of all the work that they have done around different schools around the country next summer and they are in talks with several prime venues to deliver a 'monster festival' for the local community to enjoy and take part in

Through their 'Hip Hop Healing' style of teaching and their expertise, Mr Bennett said he hopes to go to schools across not only Nuneaton but also into North Warwickshire and Tamworth. "This is what it’s all about for me. It’s where it all started 13 years ago when I put the Urban Arts Clinic together with Andy Eales that didn’t work out but the aim was always the same to get super talented people with life experiences to go in schools.

"We have piloted schemes like this for many years. and just the people that will be teaching alone sends a massive message that if you have a passion and a goal and you keep working towards something every day you can eventually get there no matter what circumstance you are in, where you come from or what struggles you have. It’s all about changing mindset and we have a program guaranteed to do that."

He said that money raised from the project will be ploughed into events and free workshops in the community. "Our motto will always be the same - each one teach one - and I really think this project personifies people from from Cambridge ,Birmingham ,Tamworth, Coventry, and Nuneaton all coming together for the greater good," he said.

His dream is to take it nationwide: "Having come through similar programs to make education better for all the kids, we really hope that the government can take a look at what we are doing and help us to implement this all around the country."

For more information about the project either call 07976 591237 or leave a message on Reel People by James on Facebook.

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