Music is a young person's game—and apparently so, too, is media about music that young people like. Lazerine is the 19-year-old founder of a nationwide hip-hop and R&B magazine that started in July 2001 and is distributed by Time Warner. Companion projects include a television show, a Web site, and a nonprofit group that is devoted to getting teens involved in the media.
FROM DEVIN'S ORIGINAL ENTRY:
Tell us what you do (or what your team or organization does) and the specific challenge you faced.
I am the 19 year-old founder and editor-in-chief of Rap-Up, a nationwide hip-hop and R&B print magazine available at newsstands and retail stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. Launched in July 2001, the full-color, glossy publication has a circulation of 200,000 and is distributed by Time Warner. Rap-Up is based upon my concepts and website, Rap-Up.com. I started the website and magazine at the age of 15. Writers from Rolling Stone, Vibe, The Source, XXL, CosmoGIRL!, and more, have all contributed to the premiere issue. I have had the chance to interview some of music's biggest stars for my magazine among them P. Diddy, Destiny's Child, Paulina Rubio, Michelle Branch, Fabolous, and many more.
What was your moment of truth?
Age was an obstacle that had to be overcome. When first starting out with setting up interviews and such, I was afraid publicists and record labels would shy away from my magazine if they found out how young I was. I didn't realize until later that my youth didn't have to be a negative, but could be used to my advantage. When some publicists found out I was 16, they were impressed and sometimes more inclined to grant Rap-Up an interview with their high-profile clients. Since the magazine launch, I have been involved with side projects related to the magazine including a TV show, relaunched website at http://www.rap-up.com, and a non-profit organization to help teens get involved in media. It is called [the RAP] getting teens rapped up in media and can be found at http://www.the-RAP.org.
What were the results?
After the successful launch of the magazine, I received tons of positive response from people all over the world (some after seeing me on a VH1 TV show). The feedback was overwhelming and it was great to have other fellow teenagers tell me that I had inspired them to go out and do whatever it is they wanted to do. Not only would they wait till they were older to achieve their goals, but they were going to start NOW while they were still teenagers.
What's your parting tip?
Although it sounds cliché, I keep telling other teens and anyone with a dream to go and pursue it. Don't wait till tomorrow, start today. And don't give up. The more determined you are, the more likely you will achieve your goal. Take it from me. I for one never thought I would be fulfilling my dream at the age of 16.