Commemorating 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop in New York

Screenshot of Hip-Hop FinFest Vol. 2 artwork.
Screenshot of Hip-Hop FinFest Vol. 2 artwork. Management
Courtesy Tre D. Brown at Maven Media

Hip-Hop FinFest, the virtual competition, is back for “Volume 2: Wants are Needs Too!,” in honor of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop music. The competition also comes as Financial Literacy Month is recognized next month, with this year being 20 years since it was first acknowledged.

The competition is explicitly for middle and high school students based in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean islands. It allows them to utilize their rapping, singing, and songwriting skills to share the wants and needs within their community by rhyming over original Hip-Hop beats.

The mission of the competition is to inspire positive lyrics, create social change, and amplify conversations about money that brings our Black communities together.

Students participating in the competition must be 12-18 years of age, and they must be residents in the US, Canadian, or US Virgin Islands. Submissions must be video performances only, and they must include content from at least one FinFest financial literacy lesson. Additionally, students can only rhyme over one of the FinFest beats,  the song cannot exceed 4 minutes and must include no less than 16 bars and a chorus. No profanity or cursing is allowed.

Students of winning songs chosen by the judges will receive the studio in a backpack provided by Sony for music and creative projects. The package includes a camera, wireless Bluetooth Shooting Grip and tripod. It will also include wireless headphones with a microphone, a rechargeable battery pack, a memory card, a portable Bluetooth wireless speaker, and a shotgun microphone.

Screenshot of Pockets Change organization logo.
Screenshot of Pockets Change organization logo. Courtesy Tre D. Brown at Maven Media Management

In addition, winning students will receive a year of mentorship to nurture their financial and creative skills and an opportunity to be a peer leader for the next FinFest installment. They will also have their video performances featured during the FinFest concert livestream, and their songs will be featured on the FinFest Volume 2 compilation album.

The top three winners will receive cash rewards, with 1st place receiving $1000, 2nd place receiving $500, and 3rd place receiving $250.

One grand prize winner will be chosen based on the song and performance. This student will exclusively win: a $1000 cash reward, two complimentary tickets to Walt Disney World or Universal Studios with a parent or guardian, and an opportunity to perform at the Florida Prosperity Partnership conference in Orlando.

Furthermore, schoolteachers can participate in the competition this time. If one of your students is selected as a winner, you receive two professional development sessions, curriculum for your classroom for one school year, and merchandise from FinFest partners and sponsors.

Partners for this installment of the competition include A & R Room, an organized collective of music makers, DJ’s & content creators talking Black culture.

Another partner based in New York is Pockets Change, an organization building intergenerational financial resilience among students, families, and educators, which is advanced by implementing innovative approaches to financial education, including through hip-hop.

Judges for this installment of the competition include female rapper Queen Herawin, who is a member of the NYC hip-hop group Juggaknots. Another NYC judge is Sway Calloway, who hosts his radio show Sway in the Morning on the Sirius XM radio station Shade 45. Shade 45 was created by rapper, songwriter and record producer Marshall Bruce Mathers III, also known as Eminem.

For those interested in participating, more information can be found here:  The deadline for submissions is March 24 at 11:59 p.m.

The livestream event, where the winners will be selected, is happening on April 27 exclusively on Spondulics TV, an organization bringing together education and entertainment for personal finance.