The lie that supports this phenomenon is so flimsily constructed that to say it supports the phenomenon would be a misnomer, but it does fuel it.
That lie? This growing belief among not only children from impoverished environments but throughout American society, has festered and gone unchecked for sometime. The belief that education is not cool. That to learn is to be “acting white” or “bougie” or shows some sign of self-hatred.
Though the logical readers of EURweb.com are well aware that this mind rotting piece of slice of Americana is part of our country’s innate rebelliousness, and is not worthy of analysis, our children do not. In fact it would seem the children of America prefer to avoid learning at every turn. But Pharrell Williams, best known for his work from N.E.R.D. and Neptunes and Mimi Valdes, editorial wunderkind with nearly 20 years in the game, want to change that. They’re not just talking about it in “pie in the sky” terms either. They’ve already set their plan in motion with Kidult.com. We ran into the lovely Mrs. Valdes at the 2010 NV Awards as she received an award for Community and Civic Duty.
“It was an incredibly humble experience when you receive an award from people in your own community,” Mimi told EURweb.com. “On the morning of the NV Awards) I felt so sick, I had a splitting headache and I almost wasn’t going to make it and I was like ‘oh my goodness I can’t do that. I have to show up for this award because, again, when you work and do things like this you never expect to get an award. That’s not why you do it. You do it because you love what it is you do and you just want to inspire people, educate people. To get an award like this is just a really, really amazing experience. And I’m so sad Pharrell wasn’t here to receive this award because he’s on tour but he, obviously, is very excited about this award as well.”
The explosive popularity of social networking websites and web-browser based video games bear witness to one simple fact: people won’t get off their tail and go outside and exercise. But if kids are going to be online anyway why not create something that feeds their minds?
“The name of the website is Kidult.com, which is basically kid and adult put together,” said Ms. Valdes. “It’s really Pharrell’s brainchild he wanted to create a website to encourage kids to feed their curiosity. We wanted this to be a place that was not going to just be entertainment, even though we do entertainment too, but we don’t take it from the gossip stance. This is really about encouraging kids to learn. We have everything from health news, science, politics to, just things that we feel like that if we can just get them to the site we can get them to read up on a science article and maybe found out about what’s going on on the moon.”
To go from having kids’ only earthly concern be what’s going on in cyberspace to having those earthly concerns incorporate the moon is a great leap. A leap of approximately 240,000 miles to be exact and your kid would probably know that if they logged on to kidult.com instead of myspace.com.
“The whole idea is just to try and make information cool,” said Mimi. “Pharell, when he was a young kid, he was always the odd kid because he just liked all of this odd stuff. We just want kids that are interested in learning not to feel bad about it. Just like music is a lifestyle and entertainment is a lifestyle, we really want to make information a lifestyle.”
Though Pharrell’s inspiration is what spawned the website, it’s Mimi Valdes’ experience that is making it happen.
“I’ve been in the media now for almost 20 years and I started at Vibe as an Editorial Assistant and then became it’s Editor-In-Chief. Then I became Editor-In-Chief of Latina Magazine and now I’m Editor-In-Chief of Kidult and its co-founder,” Mimi told our reporter. “I’m a journalist at heart and as a storyteller I feel like this is helping them become better individuals and is helping prepare them for the future and helping them become visionaries and leaders. It’s a great thing to know you’re working on things like that instead of just entertaining kids or just making them laugh. No, these are real skills that they’ll learn for their future.”
We’re actually based In Miami but we have kids from all over the world working on our website, writing for the website,” continued Mimi. “A lot of the freelance staff is from all over the place, but we’re based in Miami because that’s where Pharrell lives now.”
In addition to making a positive place on the internet, Kidult.com is bringing that positive energy to the real world with the 2010 Kidult Youth Leadership Conference.
“Our first sort of brand extension is in New York City and kids still have a chance to register. The ages are between 14 and 21. We’re having speakers giving advice on how to basically become the global leaders of the future, a panel of young entrepreneurs showing people how they got their business going and it’s just going to be a really informative, fun-filled day and at the end Pharrell’s going to perform for everybody.”
It all goes down on June 26th at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers at 811 Seventh Ave (53rd St Entrance), New York, New York. Supreme big ups go to Pharrell Williams and Mimi Valdes.
Congratulations are once again in order for your 2010 NV Award for Community and Civic Duty, Ms Valdez.