Dr. Richard Reeves is the Associate Director of Intervention/Prevention Youth Services at Union Settlement, Director at Heart Bible International University, Founding Dir- Zulu Legacy International YL8 at Zulu Nation, and Director of Youth Services at Generation Hip Hop Global. “Dr. Rich” as many who know him well is a man with so many titles yet humble with all he does and the people he talks to.
We Empower Magazine got an exclusive interview with Dr. Richard Reeves.
Please tell our readers about yourself?
Dr. Richard Reeves: I grew up in NYC during the 1960s and 70s. I grew up in East Harlem. It wasn’t an easy place to live and grow up in. I started Martial Arts at 8–9 years of age. I had the Bruce Lee fever. By the time I hit High School in the 70s I had developed my own system of Martial Art called American Gungfu Boxing.
I was well known for it. AND I ALSO CAUGHT THE HIP-HOP BUG. I was already a dancer-Modern, Jazz, some ballet, and African. I was also a Visual Artist. Cartooning, Mural work, and Illustration. HIP HOP Dance and Graff hit me hard and shaped my life of dance and art. I was known as Grandmaster Riksan, Martial Artist, Dancer, Artist.
What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?
Dr. Richard Reeves: I am a 40 year veteran of youth services. I have been invested in helping youth-teens and young adults- really thrive in life. I believe we must invest in each generation. I love the work and the real connection with young people. This includes connecting through arts, mentoring, dance, counseling, training, and just being with them.
What has your journey been like so far as Founding Director of Zulu Legacy International YL8 at Zulu Nation?
Dr. Richard Reeves: My deeper Hip Hop Journey began when I got involved with Zulu Nation back in the days when Zulu was transitioning from gang life to real positive organizational life. I joined chapter 11 in East Harlem and pushed into the work of building. Using the knowledge to help build. I pushed into the peace work. Pushing for peace in the streets. I watched Zulu Nation change 1000s of young people. When I stepped deeper into youth services I moved away from the Zulu work. I took it into the youth work with organizations. I pushed in hard.
In 2014 I really felt called to return to the work. To bring the best of early Zulu and Hip Hop Culture to the youth of today. I was appointed the first Director Of Youth Services Worldwide and I started YL8 under Zulu Nation, connecting with youth in different countries. I shifted into more independence as ZLI-YL8 for business reasons and pushed forward to bring The Legacy Of Zulu to Youth Leader. Building in 5 countries…this has been an awesome experience.
What impact do you intend to make throughout your career as Director of Youth Services at Generation Hip Hop Global?
Dr. Richard Reeves: Through MCShaRock I was introduced to Rocky Bucano, head of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. He connected me to Generation Hip Hop. I was appointed Director Of Youth Services Education. My goal in this position is to develop tools, materials, etc. for chapters that work with Youth. Equipping the Equippers. Training The Trainers. This will help create pathways of youth empowerment that go beyond work with Hip Hop Arts. Helping young people build life skills etc. All of this is within a positive youth development frame. It will take resources but that’s my mission.
What are you currently working on?
Dr. Richard Reeves: To be really honest…I am focused on living the mission and vision. Building GHH and YL8. Getting the resources needed to sustain the organization. And I am continuing my larger youth services work along with training Clinical Chaplains. That is also part of my life journey that started in 1987 after the death of a friend. My Ph.D. is in Clinical Chaplaincy and Human Services.
How can our readers keep up to date with you?
Dr. Richard Reeves: I can be reached through the Generation Hip Hops website, through facebook as Richard Reeves, and through IG as DrRichphd.
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Multimedia Creative and Personality Tammy Reese is an award-winning Writer and Journalist. Writing and Directing short films on social issues to spread awareness through the arts gained Tammy the Makers: Women Who Make America Award honor on International Women's Day 2019. Tammy currently serves on the Communications Committee for New York Women In Film and Television. She is also the Founder and Owner of Visionary Minds Public Relations and Media.