NEW YORK, Feb. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Def Jam Rapstar, BET Networks and the Get Schooled Foundation announced today a video contest opened to all currently enrolled U.S. high school students aged 13-19. Students can submit a short rap or spoken word video about how education influences their life. Entrants are encouraged to express themselves and engage their peers with positive subjects including, but not limited to, their goals, going to college, school pride, motivation, or dedication.
From February 21st through March 18th, students can submit videos of their 60-second original performances to www.GetSchooled.com. Voting will be open to everyone from February 21st through March 18th on the site, and students are encouraged to use social networking to spread awareness of their video performance during that period.
The top five finalists will be determined by popular vote. A panel comprised of executives from Def Jam Enterprises, BET Networks and the Get Schooled Foundation will then select the winning video. The winner will win a trip to New York City to meet Russell Simmons and Kevin Liles, and the student will be invited to perform his/her winning rhyme on BET's hit music countdown show, "106 & Park."
Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam said, "A key motivating factors in creating Def Jam Rapstar was understanding that rap and spoken word are powerful forms of personal expression. They can be tools to ignite and spread positive messages about setting goals, learning, and following your dreams in a way that can create a ripple effect in schools and communities. We are excited to get behind this unique campaign that blends art and education."
"Def Jam Rapstar, at its core, is all about self expression," said Kevin Liles, President and CEO, Def Jam Enterprises. "It gives users the platform to perform on the biggest stage in the world. This partnership with Get Schooled and BET will provide further opportunities for young America to share their point of view on what issues are important to their communities, especially education. We are confident that students will create compelling, poignant content that further emphasize the importance of education and empowerment."
Education has never been more important even as our graduation rates are stagnating. One third of students fail to graduate from high school and fewer than half of African-American males will graduate. Ensuring every young person gets the education they need to succeed will require engaging and inspiring young people using formats that Def Jam Rapstar, BET Networks and Get Schooled can deliver.
"This initiative is a great example of how content can play a great role in advancing our community's next generation of leaders through education, the arts and empowerment," said Sonya Lockett, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at BET Networks. "That is why the work of 'Get Schooled' and our 'Next Level' campaign is so important because it harnesses the power of our audience to address critical issues facing our young people in a manner that truly makes an impact."
Marie Groark, Executive Director of the Get Schooled Foundation said, "There has been a great movement among education leaders over the last decade to improve high school graduation rates. Now is the time to build on those efforts by directly engaging and inspiring young people with the messengers and media that mean something to them. BET Networks and Def Jam Rapstar's leadership through this initiative will have a significant impact on young people and be an example to others to join us in this work."
About Get Schooled
Get Schooled engages and empowers Americans to help improve high school graduation rates, improve college readiness and raise college completion rates. It is the only consumer-facing education initiative that aims to complement and support the work of the broader education reform community by leveraging the creative talent, digital and media assets and resources of the country's top media and consumer brands to truly connect with Americans. An independent non-profit organization, the Get Schooled Foundation's founders include Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with significant support from AT&T.
In the fall of 2010, Get Schooled's National Challenge and Tour inspired 300,000 Americans to step up and make a commitment to improve education. These Americans were inspired by celebrities like Ludacris, Carmelo Anthony, Keri Hilson, and Common, each of whom joined the Get Schooled movement and used their personal stories to inspire and stress the importance of education. In addition to the National Challenge and Tour, Get Schooled initiatives include: Get Schooled: You Have the Right Roadblock which aired on 23 Viacom channels and attracted almost 13 million viewers (Fall 2009), President Obama's Race To The Top Commencement Challenge (Spring 2010), New York Stock Exchange's Ring the Bell Contest (Spring 2010), Paramount Pictures' Waiting for "Superman" (2010/11), MTV's Get Schooled College Affordability Challenge (Fall 2010) and the Get MotivatED Challenge (2011).
To find out more about Get Schooled or to become a partner, visit www.getschooled.com
About Def Jam Rapstar
The ultimate emcee experience for video game consoles, Def Jam Rapstar is the only music game that focuses exclusively on Hip Hop. With more than 40 of the greatest Hip Hop songs available on disc, Def Jam Rapstar allows you to be the star by rhyming, using your console camera, and uploading your video to the fully integrated Def Jam Rapstar Community. Def Jam Rapstar was created by Def Jam Interactive and 4MM Games, LLC. For more information on Def Jam Rapstar, visit www.defjamrapstar.com.
About BET Networks
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Networks - BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.
SOURCE Get Schooled Foundation