We couldn’t be more proud to share stories from those that credit YOUmedia & Chicago Public Library for helping shape their careers and lives. Recently, one of those credits came from Fatimah Warner – you may know her as Noname.
Noname is an American poet and hip hop recording artist from Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. She has been rapping and performing slam poetry in Chicago since 2010. This past July, Noname released her first full-length album, Telefone.
This album, which Rolling Stone dubbed “truth-telling rap sunshine,” launched the Chicago poet and musician to renowned fame with her album tour already being completely sold out.
You may also have seen her surprise guest appearance on Saturday Night Live with Chance the Rapper, who also has graciously credited YOUmedia for being a critical stepping-stone for the rising of his career.
Launched in 2009 with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, YOUmedia is a teen learning lab located in 12 CPL branches across Chicago and has grown to serve as a model for similar labs and spaces throughout the country. The program emphasizes youth-driven, project-based learning led by mentors to empower teens to create digital media, music, literature, fashion, and art. And, importantly, the space offers teens a safe environment to explore their own creative interests. YOUmedia is used by nearly 4,500 students a year, who reflect a diverse cross-section of our city: 50% African American; 31% Latino; 9% Caucasian; 7% Asian; and 3% identify as other.
Recent YOUmedia program highlights have included creating ChiTeen Lit Fest – it’s inaugural debut occurred in April 2016 – and launching “1st Saturdays: Careers in Focus” events for teens to explore college and career possibilities.
Support for these programs comes from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Allstate, Hive Chicago, the National Science Foundation, the Kathy & Grant Pick Fund and Motorola Solutions Foundation.
Read what Noname has to say in this recent Redeye article on her time spent at YOUmedia and how her YOUmedia mentor, Mike Hawkins – aka Brother Mike – taught her and so many others that they are not only loved but also worthy of whatever the universe decides to bring them. Congratulations, Noname, on the success you’ve earned!
To learn more about YOUmedia, become involved or donate, please visit our YOUmedia page.