My name is Elijah Foggy and I am a hip hop artist, poet and activist who looks to inspire and touch the hearts of everyone who’s living in the struggle and anyone who is fed up with the world that they are living in and want a way to escape their cruel reality. I was constantly looking for an organization or a group or SOMETHING that I could join where I could share my vision with people who really need to hear it and my mom got me on the Story Stitchers after she saw a flier on Facebook that the Story Stitchers had posted looking for new artists and poets and performers that send out a positive message about St. Louis and they were hosting auditions for these artists. I saw this as my chance and I jumped on it right away so my mom took me to the audition and I performed my song “Why They Mad” which is basically asking why society was mad at black men and woman like me who just want to be successful and are willing to do everything that they can to make sure that they WILL be successful. To my pleasant surprise the Story Stitchers panel LOVED my rap! I had exceeded their expectations and they were all excited to work with me to refine my skills.
They proceeded to tell me about their latest project “STAND DOWN RISE UP” which is about outlining African Americans in Missouri history that have impacted gun violence or the root causes of violence such as biases, mental illness, police brutality, intergenerational poverty, segregation and slavery through poetry and music. I addressed the ENTIRE black community and how we can rise up above those biases and gun violence as a collective GROUP. Though the assignment was simple enough, conveying this message was the hardest task for me. If you were to ask me to sit down with you and tell you about my views on this topic I could ramble on all day because this topic is very special to me, but conveying my message through poetry was a different story. I was faced with the challenge of putting all of my thoughts in one song and also making it meaningful so that it can touch the hearts of EVERYONE who listens, NOT just me. It took some hard work but eventually I came out with a piece that I can honestly say is one of the greatest pieces that I have ever written and I sincerely hope that others will feel the same way that I felt when I was writing it.
I am looking forward to engaging in many future endeavors with the Story Stitchers, their warm hospitality made me feel welcome and it made me feel as if I belonged. One thing that I loved about Story Stitchers was that once I got settled in the group they treated me as if I was part of the group for YEARS; they treated me as part of the family!!! My fellow Story Stitchers artists were very respectful and were quick to help me with my song or just talk about our lives. The Story Stitchers staff were some of the nicest folks that I have ever met. Ntegrity is the audio engineer who was quick to help me with my rapping skills and give any knowledge that he had outside of music. Mrs. C, their president made the transition into the group super easy and she was also a great person to talk to in learning all that I could about Story Stitchers. Merlin Bell their director was quick to offer his wisdom and his gratitude and praise for my music and just be a good friend to talk to about life and other issues in the world. One pleasant surprise that I was hit with was when Mrs. C informed me about the STL Youth Jobs Summer Program and I quickly applied.
In closing I can honestly say that I am super excited to work with the Stitchers and do future performances and gain knowledge and love. Story Stitchers is the very thing that I was looking for when I set out to look for a way to touch my city with my music. Thank you for this gracious opportunity Stitchers! I promise that I will never let you guys down!!! 🙂
“Why They Mad”
Can you tell me why they mad cuz i need to know?
Im out here chasing the bag because I can’t be broke.
These peeps are looking at me like I’m a criminal.
They see me making that green they think I’m slanging dope.
Cuz i’m a young black male tryna make it out the hood
I swear to God my people are so misunderstood.
Im tryna make my mama proud tryna get it how I live it
Not like these trick people messing around being slick with it gets wit it
I’m getting an education man i’m trying to be successful
I’m tryna make a statement I ain’t trying to be stressful.
My mama raised me right she ain’t raise no fool.
I know they want to see me fail but what they hate gon do?
I rise above it, man that stuff don’t mean nothing don’t catch me bluffin
I’ve been hustilin bumblin being humblin doing it for the ones that are out here strugglin
Working that nine to five the ones that were down to ride
The ones that gave their lives kept their heads up high to the sky
Clinging to the hope for a better tomorrow free from the sorrow and pain
Not having to worry about digging no graves able to maintain
Some type of piece and some clarity the type of clarity that only comes in a rarity
These are the people who never lost hope.
Cuz they knew Gods wherever they go.
//hook: That’s how it is that’s how it is being in this world that I’m in.
That’s how it is that’s how it is coming from the place that I live (x2)
STAND DOWN RISE UP
Resect and Redirect
The February 2nd program will take place at the 23rd Annual St. Louis Association of Community Organizations Conference and will also feature Story Stitchers Artists in Residence Bobby Norfolk, Master Storyteller and hip hop artist KP Dennis. All programs include a Q&A.
This program is presented for Black History Month with support from Missouri Foundation for Health, Missouri Humanities Council, The Incarnate Word Foundation, and Gateway Arch National Park.
February 2, 2019
St. Louis Association of Community Organizations
23rd Annual Neighborhood Conference
St. Louis Community College at Forest Park
February 18, 2019
10:00 -11:00 AM (Private Presentation)
City of St. Louis Juvenile Detention Center
February 18, 2019
Gateway Arch National Park