Hip-Hop Chess Don't Stop!
Founded by award wining Lecturer and Author, Adisa Banjoko and Hip-Hop graphic artist Leo Libiran, this organization is dedicated to providing an inclusive setting for individuals to interact, play and develop life strategies skills with people they view as mentors.
“Despite the school systems best efforts and intentions, and the efforts of overworked parents, the past generations have suffered from lack of suitable education and essential resources required for a successful life,”, states co-founder Adisa Banjoko, “We recognized that chess, martial arts and hip-hop unify people from multiple cultural, religious and social backgrounds. These black and white squares do not care what color you are or if you are rich or poor. The only thing they ask is show me your strategy, your patience, your skills.”
Along with recreational activities, the Hip Hop Chess Federation will provide services such as life strategy workshops and sponsor supported education scholarships. Studies show chess provides invaluable life lessons such as patience, personal accountability, focus, emotional intelligence and understanding the consequences of your actions before you act. “I recently learned of a study that illustrated prisoners participating in chess clubs had an 85% less chance of returning to prison after their release,” Banjoko says, “I want to bring chess to the communities and get to the kids before the prison system gets to them”.
After nearly two years in the making, the Hip Hop Chess Federation launched their nationwide tour on February 23, 2007 in San Jose, CA. Rappers, movie producers, mixed martial art (MMA) fighters and other entertainers volunteered their time to support the community. Volunteers included world renowned DJ QBert, International chess Master Vinay Bhat, Casual from the legendary Hieroglyphics, award winning filmmaker Kevin Epps and martial artists champions like Denny Prokopos and Alan “Gumby” Marques. These names drew crowds from all over California, filling room at the Martin Luther King Library beyond capacity.
The inaugural event was so far beyond our expectations. We knew that expanding the minds of today’s youth could be reached through such an event, but I was amazed on the response during and after the tournament” Libiran adds, “We have received request from New York, Chicago, Texas and as far as London, to bring the tournament to their most popular cities. It is amazing, exciting and rewarding all at the same time.”