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Mental Health Myths and Realities with Mike Shinoda

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The song “Crossing a Line” is Mike Shinoda’s tribute to his close friend and fellow Linkin Park band member Chester Bennington, who took his life in July 2017.

Shinoda’s debut solo album is called “Post Traumatic” and features music with a message. Shinoda told me his goal with “Post Traumatic” was to peel away every layer of superficiality in the national mental health conversation and get people talking and reaching out.

[WATCH THE EXTENDED INTERVIEW WITH MIKE SHINODA: https://youtu.be/S3m1OJc1KhY]

Sometimes there is no warning. Anneliese McCain was a popular college junior who took her life at age 20. Her father, a retired Port Authority Police Department ESU sergeant who spent his career saving lives, said he didn’t see a hint of any problem. He said the day before she died they were texting each other as usual. Then, less than 12 hours later she was gone.

High-profile celebrities like Mariah Carey and Kanye West are among those talking openly about their personal battles with mental health issues.

Dr. Elisa English said that getting professional help can save lives. She points out that mental illness has an 80 percent cure rate, which is phenomenal.

And government statistics show about a third of Americans suffer from depression. The CDC said that suicide rates are rising across all demographic categories.

Getting help saved Lawrence Hines’s life. His message to anybody dealing with suicidal ideations and depression is that hope really is out there but along with that hope you have to get help. You can’t do it alone, he said.

We want to share those important phone numbers if you or anyone you know might be at risk. Call 800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people in suicidal crisis or distress. You can also call that same number to talk to someone about how you can help a person in crisis. Para soporte de crisis en Español, llame 888-628-9454.

–LISA EVERS

STARRING: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

MIKE SHINODA, Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Linkin Park https://twitter.com/mikeshinoda

DR. ELISA ENGLISH, Clinical Therapist https://twitter.com/AskDrElisa

SGT. EVERETT MCCAIN, Retired PAPD ESU Sergeant https://twitter.com/emcc4

LAWRENCE HINES, Mental Health Advocate https://twitter.com/LawrenceHnyc

WATCH THE EXTENDED INTERVIEW WITH MIKE SHINODA: https://youtu.be/S3m1OJc1KhY

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Street Soldiers TV: Changing Marijuana Laws

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We see it, we smell it, and it seems to be everywhere. The push is on to legalize recreational marijuana. But is it a solution or just the start of new problems?

The humor in Afroman’s hit song “Because I Got High” drives home the deeper message that getting high can be so good you don’t want to do anything else. More than two-thirds of Americans have no problem with it, according to recent Gallup Poll.

But Bishop Jethro James of Paradise Baptist Church foresees trouble ahead because good employers may ask people to be drug-tested. So if you can’t work, you will have other problems.

Popular culture and music are full of smoking celebrities, and weed images and references, especially in hip hop.

Bishop James is concerned legalization and increased use will make it even more difficult for young African Americans in economically disadvantaged communities to get ahead.

Recreational use is legal in eight states plus the District of Columbia. But not in New York City. Possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized and overall arrests are down, but racial disparities in enforcement remain. A recent report says you’re still about eight times more likely to get arrested for smoking marijuana if you’re black or Latino, despite the fact that blacks, Latinos and whites smoke at comparable rates.

Chris Alexander, the policy coordinator at the Drug Policy Alliance, said his group wants to remove marijuana as a “tool for criminalization” and advocates for legalization.

Former prosecutor Charles Tucker Jr., the founding partner of Tucker Moore Law Group, said making marijuana legal would take away the tool of racial profiling and will slightly level the playing field.

A marijuana conviction on your record is an automatic disqualifier for many jobs and educational programs. Tucker believes that legalization must also rectify the damage already been done. That means any new law or measure must also expunge convictions and “right the right the wrongs and put these individuals back on solid ground.”

Bishop James acknowledges the racial disparity with law enforcement but said his main concern about legalization is with the social impact in neighborhoods where resources are scarce.

–LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

CHARLES TUCKER JR., Founding Partner, Tucker Moore Law Group https://twitter.com/sirchase27

CHRIS ALEXANDER, Policy Coordinator, Drug Policy Alliance https://twitter.com/DrugPolicyOrg

BISHOP JETHRO JAMES JR., Pastor, Paradise Baptist Church, and Chaplain, New Jersey State Police https://paradisebaptistchurch.org

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Street Soldiers TV: ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ & Hip Hop’s Golden Era with Fab 5 Freddy, Roxanne Shante, Kool DJ Red Alert

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In 1988, the show “Yo! MTV Raps” debuted on television. Host Fab 5 Freddy traveled the country, bringing hip hop to millions of people for the very first time. He interviewed artists in their own environment—Tupac, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Flava Flav, Run-DMC, Jam Master Jay, and many more.

Today, Fab 5 Freddy says back then hip hop wasn’t on the radio. “Yo! MTV Raps” showed fans who these guys were and where they lived. He would go into basements where the music was recorded. He met N.W.A in Compton and the Ghetto Boys from the 5th Ward in Houston.

During this golden era, legendary female artist and battle rapper Roxanne Shante was part of hip hop’s national explosion. Her life story is now a Netflix film.

“Yo! MTV Raps” evolved when Ed Lover and Doctor Dré took over hosting duties. The duo and Lisa G went on to become a top-rated morning show on Hot 97.

For Kool DJ Red Alert, who broke many records on Hot 97, what’s good never goes out of style.

In some ways, the qualities you need to make it big in the music industry have stayed the same. In other ways, major changes have happened.

—LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

KOOL DJ RED ALERT, DJ and On-Air Personality, WBLS https://twitter.com/KoolDJRedAlert

ROXANNE SHANTE, Pioneering Hip Hop Artist and Battle Rapper https://twitter.com/ImroxanneShante

FAB 5 FREDDY, Artist, Filmmaker, and Original Host, “Yo! MTV Raps” https://twitter.com/FABNEWYORK

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Street Soldiers TV: The Best of Street Soldiers Town Halls Starring Ja Rule, Papoose and Jaquáe

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Street Soldiers hosts special town halls in various communities. Lisa Evers has hosted events in Harlem, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and even Rikers Island. Special guest panelists have included Ja Rule, Jaquae, and Papoose. Watch this special episode that recaps the best moments from those town halls.

FEATURED CAST

LISA EVERS https://twitter.com/LisaEvers

JA RULE https://twitter.com/Ruleyork PAPOOSE https://twitter.com/Papooseonline

JAQUAE https://twitter.com/JAQUAE

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Street Soldiers TV: Chinx’s Murder 3 Years Later: Journey for Justice

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Hip hop star Lionel “Chinx” Pickens was murdered on May 17, 2015. He was shot 11 times at point-blank range while in his Porsche, according to the NYPD.

This time of year is tough on Janelli Caceres-Pickens, his widow and the mother of their three children.

“It’s hard,” Caceres-Pickens said. “No matter how much time passes, you constantly have to relive those images.”

The NYPD said that the alleged murderers stalked Chinx and picked the perfect location—boxed in by construction barriers and no video cameras.

“This was targeted and he was hunted,” said Lt. Richard Rudolph, the commanding officer of Queens South Homicide.

After a two-year investigation and with grand jury indictments in their hands, homicide detectives arrested Quincy Homere and Jamar Hill last December. Lt. Rudolph believes they have the right guys.

“Extremely convinced—my detectives worked extremely hard, day and night,” Lt. Rudolph said. “And they compiled a mountain of evidence built against these defendants.”

Before the arrests, Janelli said she ignored speculation and gossip, never gave up hope, and cooperated with detectives, who kept her informed every step of the way.

The court appearances for the two suspects, both charged with second-degree murder, are underway. Every time, Janelli comes within feet of the men who allegedly took away the love of her life.

—LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

JANELLI CACERES-PICKENS, Owner, Nelli’s Kitchen, and Chinx’s Widow

LT. RICHARD RUDOLPH, Commanding Officer, Queens South Homicide https://twitter.com/NYPDQueensSouth

SOWMYA KRISHNAMURTHY, Music Journalist https://twitter.com/SowmyaK

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Street Soldiers TV: Education Town Hall with Papoose

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The Brownsville section of Brooklyn is one of the most economically challenged communities in America. But something amazing is happening at P.S./I.S. 284.

Brownsville has two juvenile detention centers, but no traditional four-year high school. For the 481 students who attend P.S./I.S. 284, that is no excuse for failure.

“Success is for everyone, and it hits home,” Principal Keva Pitts-Girard said. “As long as you want it, and want to strive for it, even if you don’t want it, we try to expose you to it.”

Pitts-Girard and her staff do their best to make sure the children are not negatively impacted by their parents’ lack of resources.

“We provide eyeglasses, we have a dental clinic that comes in,” Pitts-Girard said. “We do all sorts of things to motivate students to ensure that they want to be here.”

They also structured the school day so being hungry won’t interfere with the learning for the pre-kindergarten to 8th graders.

“We open our school at 8 a.m. so that they can have a breakfast program. The good part of us being a renewal school is that we also provide a second meal before they go home,” Pitts-Girard said. “So they have breakfast, they have lunch, and then they get another meal.”

Some of the teachers and staff grew up in Brownsville and bring a personal passion to their work.

“I’m everybody’s parent, I’m everybody’s dad—so I lend my myself to everyone, each and every one of them,” Dean of Students Trevor Glover said. “Discipline does not come from bullying. Discipline comes from service.”

Some estimates put the number of adults in Brownsville who never finished high school at more than 40 percent, so the teaching strategy is to incentivize education. The students are constantly reminded that extra effort and doing well academically brings rewards.

“We have over 100 students that are going skating in Long Island on Saturday just to reward them for taking a step towards their education,” Pitts-Girard said. “They didn’t have to choose to come on a Saturday or during recess, but they came.”

–LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

PAPOOSE, Hip Hop Artist and Father https://twitter.com/Papooseonline

STATE SEN. JESSE HAMILTON, Democrat of Brooklyn https://twitter.com/SenatorHamilton

LA SHAWN PAUL, LCSW-R, ACSW, Founder and Lead Clinician, Social Work Diva http://www.socialworkdiva.com

QUARDEAN LEWIS-ALLEN, Founder and CEO, Made in Brownsville https://twitter.com/khwar_deen http://madeinbrownsville.org

KEVA PITTS-GIRARD, Principal, P.S./I.S. 284 http://schools.nyc.gov/SchoolPortals/…

TREVOR GLOVER, Dean of Students, P.S./I.S. 284 http://schools.nyc.gov/SchoolPortals/…

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Street Soldiers TV: New York vs. Atlanta: Rivalry for the Capital of Rap

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It’s hip hop’s dirty little secret: the love-hate relationship between New York and Atlanta and the constant competition over which city reigns supreme as rap capital of the world. There may be more to it than just the music.

No one disputes that hip hop started in New York City—breaking new ground as New York artists broke new beats. Hot 97 DJ Funk Flex told me it is really about perspective. He sees Atlanta as very good but not the new capital.

In the 1990s golden era of hip hop, artists from New York and Los Angeles dominated the charts and the culture. But in 1999, a new artist called Lil Wayne turned all eyes on the South.

A few years later, Gucci Mane and T.I. launched the trap music movement. For more than a decade, Atlanta artists dominated the charts.

The emphasis of Atlanta artists like Young Thug, Future and Migos on catchy beats and their flamboyant style resonated with millions of new hip hop fans, taking trap mainstream.

For a while there was a strong belief that Atlanta wasn’t showing New York artists love but that may not have been the full story. New York artists get played in Atlanta—and they go there to party.

Cardi B is leading the charge of New York artists making their mark, according to Atlanta’s DJ Infamous, who is also a tour DJ for Ludacris. Infamous said that another reason city rivalries and boundaries are disappearing is the digital revolution, which means new music is streamed instantly around the world and it doesn’t matter where it comes from.

And as Flex says, ultimately, the fans determine the hits, regardless of where they’re from.

–LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

FUNK FLEX, Hot 97 https://twitter.com/funkflex

DJ DREWSKI, Hot 97 https://twitter.com/SoDrewski

CHUCK CREEKMUR, CEO allhiphop.com https://twitter.com/chuckcreekmur

TAP, Hip Hop Artist https://twitter.com/1TapiaSGB

SOLO, Streetz 94.5 https://twitter.com/USofSOLO

DJ INFAMOUS, V 103 https://twitter.com/DJInfamousATL

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Street Soldiers TV: Hip Hop and Women: Has the Disrespect Gone Too Far?

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Society is waking up to all kinds of issues affecting women but in hip hop something else is going on. Some of the hottest new artists are facing troubling charges involving women in their lives at the same time their careers are skyrocketing.

XXX Tentacion, Kodak Black, and Tekashi 6ix9ine are three of the hottest hip hop artists out now. XXX is facing more than a dozen felony charges for allegedly beating and threatening his pregnant ex-girlfriend. Kodak Black was indicted for sexual assault. And Tekashi 6ix9ine pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct with a 13-year-old girl. The publicity around the cases seemed to fuel their rise up the Billboard music charts.

Violence against women is nothing new in the music industry. Eminem’s controversial song with Rihanna drew heavy criticism for its mixed messages about domestic violence. On the R & B side, no amount of musical genius could keep some R. Kelly fans from defecting after disturbing allegations about a 14-year-old girl.

This all comes at a time when women artists are thriving. Cardi B has a mega hot new album. Remy Ma is showing female artists can be married with children. And Nicki Minaj continues to crank out the hits.

Despite the advances, Dream Doll, whose latest single is “Everything Nice,” says it’s still a challenge for up-and-coming female artists to be taken seriously in the male-dominated industry. Dream Doll says that one thing she does to convey a professional image is to always take at least one or two members of her team with her to studio sessions, which are usually all male and often late at night.

–LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

DYLAN GREEN, Music Journalist https://twitter.com/CineMasai_

DREAM DOLL, Hip Hop and Pop Artist https://twitter.com/realdreamdoll

RANDOLPH SCONIERS, DSW, LCSW, New Steps Counseling and Founder, Mental-Hop https://twitter.com/NewStepsCounsel

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Street Soldiers TV: Teen Summit Town Hall

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Teens in the East Harlem community face many of the same issues teens do everywhere but here they have the added challenge of avoiding the lure of the streets. Luckily for them there are some programs working to guide them in a positive direction.

Getting money is always a goal, and the temptation is to get it fast any way you can is always there. But Harlem teens also grow up seeing the price some pay for breaking the law. Harder to avoid is the social media beefing between youth in different housing developments.

Lawrence Birthwright, known to the community as Brother Jay or Mr. Jay, grew up in housing, and came up with a plan. Based out of the Stanley Isaacs/James Weldon Johnson Center, the S.A.F.E. Program features sports, leadership training, field trips and educational support for boys and girls. But most of all it’s about the ongoing dialogue and guidance.

We were invited by community leaders to do a special teen summit town hall to give the teens a chance to speak out. You might be surprised by what they have to say.

–LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

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Street Soldiers TV: Hip Hop and God Featuring Fetty Wap & David Banner

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Acknowledging god and giving back are becoming more common in hip hop than ever before. We got an exclusive first-hand look how hip hop superstar Fetty Wap is sharing the love with his own community.

“God blessed me to be a little fortunate now so I try, especially the main thing I try to do is give back to Paterson,” Fetty said.

He teamed up with the new Price Rite supermarket, the Gray Firm and RFG Productions to give more than 1,000 Paterson, New Jersey, families a very happy holiday weekend. He gave out $25 gift cards so they could make a nice Easter Sunday dinner, something he rarely had himself growing up.

“To be able to live a different lifestyle, it kind of just really empowered me to try to help as many people as I could,” Fetty said.

Hundreds of people waited on line for hours as much to be inspired by his success in defying the odds as to receive his generous gift.

“I got kids, too. To make people happy—that’s what I’m all about,” he said. “I try to do my best.”

The heart of hip hop has never been bigger, more spiritual, and more outspoken about god. In the video “God’s Plan,” Drake gives away nearly a million dollars to people in need. The song set a record for most streams of a single in a day—more than 18 million—and set off the God’s Plan Challenge.

“All over social media you could see fans literally tearing up, getting emotional and also being inspired,” music journalist Sowmya Krishnamurthy said. “The God’s Plan Challenge was basically to do good deeds.”

Snoop Dogg’s first album was called “Doggy Style” and now some fans are crying “Holy hip hop!” over his latest work—a new No. 1 gospel album called “Bible of Love.”

Could Fetty have his own gospel album in the works? Anything is possible for this super-talented artist. For now, he is content to help others and accept dinner invitations.

“If I continue to be blessed, I’m going to always bless my city and make sure they got them plates for me,” he said. “Fetty Wap’s coming through—yeah, baby!”

–LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

FETTY WAP, Hip Hop Superstar https://twitter.com/fettywap

SOWMYA KRISHNAMURTHY, Music Journalist https://twitter.com/SowmyaK

OSWIN BENJAMIN, Hip Hop Artist https://twitter.com/OswinBenjamin

DAVID BANNER, Hip Hop Artist https://twitter.com/davidbanner

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Street Soldiers TV: Ending Gun Violence: NYC Youth Stands Up for Change

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Gun violence is one of the biggest issues facing our country. And there seems to be no solution. A new generation of student activists is vowing to change that.

New York City students walked out of class in solidarity with hundreds of thousands around the country over gun violence, one month after the Parkland massacre. Nupol Kiazolu, whose father was shot and killed when she was 8, was among them.

“I’m still not fully there when it comes to healing and dealing with my father being killed,” said Kiazolu, a senior at Nelson Mandela School for Social Change. “But I’m using the pain that I’ve experienced and am still experiencing over his loss to help me and push me forward.”

Students from the city and suburbs gathered at an after-school rally organized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. More blacks are killed by guns than whites. And their murders are often ignored. But Adams believes the students may be helping to right old wrongs.

“I think that Parkland was an awakening for many that finally heard the cries of those in the urban centers across America,” Adams said. “And now that connection is allowing a mass movement that I believe finally we’ll see a movement in the gun reform conversation.”

While students in low-income communities of color are often exposed to gun violence at an early age, it was a new experience for many of the Parkland students. Yet students from diverse backgrounds are now standing together for change.

“The face of gun violence looks a lot different than the people who are actually dealing with it,” City Council Member Jumaane Williams, a candidate for lieutenant governor, said. “And so my hope is that this bridge does occur.”

Assault rifles, like the one used in Parkland, are the main focus of the gun reform conversation. Adams, a former NYPD captain and a gun owner, said he hopes that focus is expanded.

“The urban problem are 9mm handguns, .380s, .38s—no one is having a conversation about that,” Adams said. “And so our legislators cannot be lost in the emotion of the suburban and rural problem and ignore the urban problem.”

The students seem certain that this time enough really is enough.

“This is something that is going to result in generational impact,” Kiazolu said. “So for future generations to come, we won’t have to experience anything like this.”

–LISA EVERS

FEATURED CAST: LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers https://twitter.com/lisaevers

NUPOL KIAZOLU, Activist, Student, and President, Black Lives Matter NY Youth Coalition https://twitter.com/nupol_justice

JUMAANE WILLIAMS, City Council Member https://twitter.com/JumaaneWilliams

JERMEL HOWARD, Actor https://twitter.com/JermelHoward

ERIC ADAMS, Brooklyn Borough President and former NYPD Captain https://twitter.com/BPEricAdams