Earlier this month, students at the Urban Assembly School for Global Commerce (UASGC) were thrilled to welcome celebrated rapper and actor Dave East back to his East Harlem neighborhood. In partnership with the Hustlers Guild, Mass Appeal, Def Jam Recordings, and Champions in Philanthropy, Dave East spent a few hours at UASGC speaking with high school students about overcoming challenges and missteps on the road to success, and his inspiration to keep climbing.

Find your passion...the thing that makes you want to get up in the morning. Perfect your craft,” Dave East told UASGC students. “You gotta believe it before anybody else believes it...you gotta already have the belief that you could do what you want to do.

Dave East

Dave East is best known for his roles in the Netflix film Beats and in the Hulu series Wu-Tang: An American Saga, as well as for his 2019 debut album Survival which peaked at #11 on the US Billboard 200 chart. His background as the son of Caribbean immigrants who grew up in public housing in East Harlem and Queens was reflective of his audience of first-generation American students of color from mostly low-income and challenged backgrounds. He engaged in dialogue with students about a range of topics from building generational wealth to achieving the American dream.

“Dave represents and skillfully chronicles a story of struggle, hardship, and triumph similar to that of our students,” said UASGC Principal Roony Vizcaino to the New York Amsterdam News. “Through his art form students are inspired to hustle and succeed. The visit was inspirational and important to our community.”

Read feature in Amsterdam News

Photos by Troi Williams and Christianna Cox.