creative:impact - Formula 734 Project Offers Music, Direction, Mentorship, And Opportunity

Feb 16, 2021

Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper project specialist Jamall Bufford
Credit Jamall Bufford / Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper

Jamall Bufford is a musician, rapper, and DJ, and his energy impacts a number of young men through his work as project specialist at Washtenaw County My Brother's Keeper (WMBK).  He joined "creative:impact" co-hosts Deb Polich and David Fair to discuss the importance of infusing art and creativity into youth development projects.  The efforts have resulted in an album featuring a number of talented young people from Washtenaw County and a documentary film highlighting how the project offers a path forward. 


Deb Polich, President and CEO of The Arts Alliance

Creative industries in Washtenaw County add hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy.  In the weeks and months to come, 89.1 WEMU's David Fair and co-host Deb Polich, the President and CEO of The Arts Alliance, explore the myriad of contributors that make up the creative sector in Washtenaw County.

ABOUT WASHTENAW MY BROTHER'S KEEPER

Washtenaw County My Brother’s Keeper (WMBK) is a county-wide transformation and collective empowerment collaborative.  As President Barack Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper Challenge in February 2014, WMBK took on the MBK Challenge and became a local affiliate in 2015.

WMBK represents one of over 200 communities nationally, and a dozen within Michigan, to have accepted the MBK Community Challenge.  MBK communities at large seek to establish cradle to career pathways of success for young men of color in cities, counties, and tribal communities nationwide.  WMBK uses tools such as cross-sector partnerships, holding space for intergenerational connection, community-based planning and advocacy to transform the lives of boys and men of color in the county.

Empowering Multiple Generations. Building Community. Shaping Innovative Change.

 

Mission: Washtenaw County My Brother’s Keeper (WMBK) exists to impact boys and men of color (ages 0-25) by empowering multiple generations to build community, and using innovative means to change narratives, practices, and policies, resulting in improved outcomes for young men and boys of color in Washtenaw County.

Vision: Washtenaw County will be a place where boys and young men of color thrive- having full access and support to educational and economic opportunities, strong support and care from an intergenerational community of men of color, and are positively acknowledged by the community at large.

  1. Transform communities of color by growing and transforming ourselves as men of color

  2. Positively change the community’s perception of the contributions made by boys and men of color

  3.  Ensure that boys and men of color have spaces that are financially sustained and responsive to historical and present barriers to success and self-determination

Jamall Bufford (far right) with two other rappers at the Formula 734 recording sessions.
Credit Jamall Bufford / Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper

ABOUT JAMALL BUFFORD:

Jamall Bufford has stepped in as the new Project Specialist coordinating Washtenaw My Brother’s Keeper.  As the first county in the nation to sign onto the Obama-era White House initiative, hiring a full-time Project Specialist to rally the community and manage partnerships is a significant step in WMBK’s development. 

Bufford received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 2005 and is no stranger to working with youth in Washtenaw County.  Bufford’s background as a hip-hop recording artist led to his passion of working with young people.  He spent 5 years working at the Neutral Zone in downtown Ann Arbor as an Emcee Workshop Facilitator and Music Coordinator, and he was most recently employed as a Paraprofessional at Ann Arbor Public School’s Tappan Middle School where he worked with students with emotional impairments.  Bufford is also a trained facilitator in restorative practices.

RESOURCES:

Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper

"Rapper and songwriter Jamall Bufford on letting your work be judged"

Formula 734

Jamall Bufford on Bandcamp

Jamall Bufford on Instagram

Formula 734 Documentary Premiere

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu