In 1991, Tupac Shakur released the heart grappling track, “Brenda’s Got A Baby.” It told the story of a young girl who’s environment got the best of her and left her for dead. Through Shakur’s eloquent descriptions of hopelessness in his community, he painted a powerful picture that desperately required hope.
Twenty-five years later, the world is currently in desperate need of some hope—whatever form it comes in. In Karega Bailey’s case, it comes in the form of the riveting song, “Hope Dealer.”
Stripped down and raw, the visuals for “Hope Dealer” takes the viewer through a day in an educator’s life, along with his SOL Development family, where educating the next generation through music and art is his life’s work.
“I don’t spit dope no more/I’m pushing medicine,” SOL Development artist Lake Stovall sings, the perfect statement to sum up what Bailey is all about. Hope is medicine.
“Hope dealing requires the hope dealer to give portions that others may see as fatiguing, but that is the cost to disrupt hopelessness,” Bailey says.
The award-winning spoken word poet, educator and emcee returned to his California roots after an extensive period in Washington, D.C., where he honed his craft and really narrowed in on his mission: to be an agent of hope to his greatest capacity.
Now based in Oakland, Bailey is a founding member of the Roses in Concrete school and was recruited as the Director of Special Education. He also co-designed the arts program, giving him the ability to relocate the entire SOL Development collective. Roses in Concrete just wrapped up its first year.
“We opened a door to freedom.” Bailey explains. “They had a great year at a brand new school, where they learned about their indigenous identity, and experienced arts and humanities.
“In order to keep this door open, we all have to become hope dealers and partner with hope dealers nationwide,” he continues. “Students experienced classical ballet, as well as visits from Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture Emory Douglas and former leader Erica Huggins, all while receiving Spanish and English dual immersion instruction.”
“Hope Dealer” provided the soundtrack to their incredible year. Roses in Concrete was co-signed by Tupac Shakur’s mother, the late Afeni Skakur, who sadly passed away in May 2016. “The school is of Tupac’s legacy,” Bailey explains. “Afeni visited us and gave us her blessing.”