Rapper: We Must Create Our Own Jobs

public enemyAndreaus 13, a Long Island rapper who has worked with Public Enemy and their producer Terminator X, is on a different career path now. Working through his group, the African American Media Network, he is both helping to cover often ignored issues in the community and providing experience for young African Americans who desperately need job skills.

A study released this week showed that the unemployment rate for young people is 3 to 4 times higher than the national average. Among young African American men, the rate is close to 80% in some states.

I sat down and talked with Andreaus about the situation, and what needs to be done.

"Minorities have been in what I call a constant recession," he told me. "Due to institutional discrimination we have to come up with our own ways of providing jobs."

That is done, he says, through small businesses started up by minorities that create jobs for people in the community.

"A great example of that is a man in our community named Dave Randall. He started out working as an airbrush artist in a store owned by Flavor Flav, and now he owns a clothing store and a sneaker store and employs a lot of young people in our community."

Andreaus also says that there is a new street economy helping young minority men and women earn their own living. The street economy used to be drugs, but now it is art.

"With the new technology, kids can produce their own music and art. They can distribute it and sell it on the streets. A lot of young artists are making a living that way."

His African American Media Network helps a lot with that on Long Island. The group has a studio in Hempstead that provides people with equipment to produce music, video, and news programs focused on the African American community. Those news programs are aired on local community access channels and have a strong following.

"We provide internships that help develop skills and experience for résumé that can help people land jobs."

And it's not just in the arts. One young man worked for the group helping to program and repair computers, and it led to a full-time IT job.

"There still is a lot to be done," Andreaus says. "And we need a lot more help from the black community as well. There are a lot of successful African American men who need to provide more leadership and mentoring in the community."

If anyone needs a role model for that kind of leadership, they should take a look at Andreaus 13.


Andreaus is also involved in community politics. He recently worked to unseat the Nassau County Executive who he felt was ignoring minority communities in the county. As part of his campaign he wrote and performed this rap song:

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