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The student voice of Detroit's High Schools.

​Lyrical Crusaders use the arts for expression


Lyrical Crusaders (LC) is a new club that was initiated last school year by social studies teacher Dan Wolford. LC allows teens to express themselves through the love of hip-hop, poetry, singing, and dance. Many get the chance to learn what hip-hop really is.

“Hip-hop has been one of the most, if not the most, important cultures in my life. So, I wanted to find a way to bring hip-hop into school,” said Wolford.

Because of this group, students who once felt as if they didn’t fit in now have a place to feel like they belong.

“It’s been absolutely amazing. I’ve never been a part of something so it’s actually my family,” said sophomore Devin Chisholm. “I feel like hip-hop is an important part of history. It tells stories in an entertaining way. It helps people swallow serious subjects.”

Senior Tia Smith, one of the group’s leaders, will graduate this school year but wants the group to continue going strong.

“I would only recommend it if you are serious about learning hip-hop,” said Smith. “It’s not just a class that you can just go in and play around in. It’s a class where you actually get to learn the elements of hip hop.”

Principal Deborah Jenkins chose to let LC become a club at King because she could see the passion Wolford has for the subject and because of the passion she has to let her students express their talents.

“I never know what my students’ gifts really are and if it’s going to lead you on your path to help you become who you truly were put on this earth to be, I want to give you every opportunity to explore those options,” said Jenkins.

In December 2016, Wolford’s Lyrical Crusaders received funding and the Game Changers Award from the Detroit Pistons. In April 2017, he was featured on Channel 7 as Person of the Week. With continued hard work and dedication, Wolford has very high expectations for this group of high school students.

“I would like Lyrical Crusaders to get to the point where they’re having regular performances in which the students are in charge of their own music,” said Wolford. “I want to elevate the stage for the students as high as I possibly can.”


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