A Lovely Day

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Some have parents in jail. Others must wear ankle monitors. For many, growing up in Oakland comes with challenges beyond frivolous teenage drama. As Oakland's youth face poverty and escalating homicide rates, the Bay Area community is left wondering how they can help young people of color to heal from emotional trauma, develop self-confidence, and ultimately lead healthy and successful lives.

A Lovely Day is the collaborative effort of independent filmmaker Kerri Gawryn, Oakland High School's Fifth Element Hip-Hop Club and the organization Beats, Rhymes and Life. Together, they document the ordeals and achievements of a group of young rappers embarking on a six-month journey to find their voice, skills and path to healing within hip-hop culture. The first and only youth-centered program of its kind in the Bay Area, Beats Rhymes and Life fuses hip-hop education with group psychotherapy, encouraging teens to work toward common goals of creating a full-length album and performing at the Oakland Metro Operahouse. The filmed workshops, recording sessions, final performance and supplemental interviews reveal the challenges and successes of these talented young people.

A film about resiliency, hope and hip-hop, A Lovely Day demonstrates the potential to examine and give voice to life experience while making powerful works of art. Their commitment to the program and each other exemplifies their willingness to construct their futures and create social change as they transition into adulthood.

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