When Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur and Principal Akbar Cook first talked about his new compilation album, Focus On The Love, he immediately brought in mogul Dame Dash to partake in the conversation. The Westside High school leader and the consummate American entrepreneur have joined forces to create an album. More importantly, the pair has solidified a relationship that extends into business and brotherhood.
Principal Akbar is more than the leader of West Side high school. He is a transformative figure that has been highlighted by Ellen and Oprah for his work with teenagers in Newark, NJ. Similarly, Dash is more than the guy that helped Jay-Z rise to the top. The Roc-A-Fella co-founder is a change agent that altered the relationship between the culture and business.
“Ak brought me out of retirement, you know what I mean,” Dame says from the comforts of his lavish West Coast home. Not only has Dame returned to music through this album, he also offered mentorship and counsel to the students.
Continuing, Dame explains, “[Akbar] said that he had a crew, I was like, I got to see them. If I’m going to really get behind this, I got to know if they’re really built for this. So automatically they went to BluRoc Bootcamp off the top. I put them in front of a camera, got them some therapy, gave them some therapy, all of that. And he’s here, he delivered, they passed the test, they are warriors. They are down with the BluRoc Warriors.”
Principal Akbar has gone so far as to add a Dame Dash Studios location in the school to allow for them to record in-house. The business joins numerous others including a laundry mat, an urban farm (thanks to Ellen), a bank, a beauty shop, and other ventures that allow kids to become entrepreneurs, college-ready, productive citizens, and, most of all, off the streets.
In this exclusive conversation, Akbar Cook explains his plight in vivid detail.
“I can’t wait until the summer to save these kids, they need saving throughout the course of the school year, he said. “Since we started doing [new progamming] in 2016, Chuck, I haven’t lost any more kids to gun violence. And it was all attributed to because of that.
Both men have intersecting vision and purpose. This is an amazing turn of events, but to fully understand, watch the interview below.
The conversation between Dame, Akbar, and Chuck spans numerous topics, not to be missed.