Arts and Culture

DJ Cavem's "Wheat Grass" sends a message from the garden to the people

How did Ietef Cavem Vita, otherwise known in these parts as DJ Cavem Moetavation, spend his summer? Under the sun, it turns out: shoveling dirt and planting seeds, growing greens and teaching kids. A food-justice advocate and proponent of mixing up the beats of hip-hop with the kind of backyard sustainable living models and healthy eating supported by his own ancestors, DJ Cavem took it to the classroom at Manual High School in a Going Green, Living Bling YouthBiz program that did just that, with a group of kids ages eleven to eighteen.

"We live in an area that's impacted with the lack of community gardens and organic food at corner stores, so we showed them how to grow organic food, make juice from it and sell it at the Mo' Betta Green Farmers' Market in Five Points. But we also taught them about environmental and holistic health, yoga and the effects of obesity and food-related diseases," Cavem explains of the class he helped lead with his wife, Neambe.

But aside from all those positive lessons, there was another upshot to the program: DJ Cavem's new album, The Teacher's Lounge, and especially the cut (and attendant video) "Wheat Grass," a positive collaboration with his students. "We had them in the garden, working and dancing, over the summer. We want to use the video as a form of education for young people and adults, to talk about food justice through hip-hop culture."

DJ Cavem will be taking "Wheat Grass" on the road this fall, and eventually all the way to Nairobi, where he'll travel under the auspices of the Bold Food Fellowship. But not before tonight's 10 p.m. video-release party and tour kickoff at the Funky Buddha. If you can't make it, here's a taste:

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd