Rhyme and Design Camp

A one-week creative camp that uses hip-hop, multimedia, and entrepreneurial thinking to develop branding concepts for two local businesses.

The initial goal of this workshop was to highlight the innate but undervalued creative talent of local youth who are gifted in the area of Hip Hop by contextualizing their abilities within a branding and marketing environment.

The second goal was for the students to provide marketing support to two growing local businesses : Hair Stylist Pronta Anderson and Seeds of Culture.


Three students, Malik Wingate, Patience Solo, and Masaan Anderson met and formed their own branding company which they named, Aura-gen, with the tagline, “B4 The Brand.” Having named their own company, the students were ready to take on clients of their own for whom they would develop names, taglines and logos. Word spread quickly and within a day the trio had already booked two clients. Their first client was Pronta Anderson, a hairstylist, and their second was Page Hill, owner of Seeds of Culture, looking to design an image for her organization. Both business owners were interviewed by Aura-gen to understand exactly what each client was looking for.

Hearing of their exciting new startup, James Bell of Bell Brand Advisors stopped by the Aura-gen campus and discussed the possibilities of a partnership between his and their new business. Professional graphic designer Rick Montoya worked with the team to generate ideas for Seeds of Culture’s logo.

Aura-gen used wordplay, freestyle, and music as a brainstorming tools to generate ideas. Upon completion of the designs, Aura-gen presented their ideas to each client.

Students utilized freestyle rap as a brainstorming method.

Students formed, named, and ran their own company for the duration of the workshop.

Students practiced negotiation, presentation, and relationship skills with professionals.

Students were mentored by professionals in Hip Hop, branding and design to help them reach their end goal.

Students gained real world experience and compensation by  working with local entrepreneurs to create and meet needs for their businesses.

“I enjoyed working with the kids from Aura-gen on the Rhyme and Design project. My experience with them was exciting. I felt that they really put their minds to work coming up with a name for my business. They were serious about the project and had fun as well. I would work with them and refer their services.”
Pronta Anderson, Aura-gen Client 

“Creative, Engaging, and Thoughtful! Seeds of Culture was a recent client of Aura-gen, a marketing and design team of Charlottesville’s youth, created and facilitated by Bernard Hankins. Startup and existing businesses were given the opportunity to have an one-on-one consultation with Aura-gen. I loved their energy and enthusiasm. They were sensitive to my needs and input, all which was well reflected in the final presentation. An absolutely excellent resource for logo designs and taglines. Most importantly, local teens were able to create alongside experts in the field. Well done!!!”
Page West Hill, Aura-gen Client

“Rhyme and Design  needs to exist, so that creative, young people who have an affinity towards Hip Hop realize that their talents are valuable and can be used in more ways than even they can imagine.

One of the most rewarding experiences was witnessing all of the students transformations over the period of the week. At the beginning of the week they appeared to be unsure about the process and seemingly disengaged at times, but by the end of the week they were all pulling together as a team to accomplish a unified goal.

We had one student lyricist who thought it would be difficult to generate names and taglines for businesses. By mid-week he stepped up to take leadership with interviewing and presenting to the clients. At the end of the week, he was inquiring about when the next Rhyme and Design workshop would be.

I feel personally rewarded and I am confident that a seed of creative, entrepreneurial spark has been planted within the very spirit of those who participated.

My vision is to see Rhyme and Design installed in schools throughout the city where the students are running their own versions of it.

I imagine that local businesses will come to these young innovators to get a fresh perspective on their brands and validate the students creative talents by paying them for their ideas. This I believe will result in producing a generation of passionate and bold self starters.”

Bernard Hankins, Lead Mentor

“Rhyme and Design  needs to exist, so that creative, young people who have an affinity towards Hip Hop realize that their talents are valuable and can be used in more ways than even they can imagine.”

– Bernard Hankins

Photo Gallery

Bernard Hankins, Lead Mentor/Hip Hop/Design
Cullen Wade aka Fellowman, Hip Hop/Education
Suleiman Aloul, Hip Hop
James Bell, Marketing/Branding
Rick Montoya, Graphic Design
Ty Cooper, Marketing/Event Planning
Zach Keifer, Videography
Clarence Green, Videography/Branding
Hair Styling, Pronta Anderson
Seeds of Culture, Page Hill
Malik Wingate
Patience Solo
Masaan Anderson