John Forte To Teach Adolescents At City College

Through the Arms Reach Program, the recently-pardoned Refugee Camp affiliate teachs the youth.

Almost three months after rapper/producer John Forte was released from prison, the Brooklyn born musician is already trying to make an impact in the lives of local teenagers.

On March 31, Forte will serve as a teacher with the Arms Reach Program, a program created to improves the lives of at risk teens and children of incarcerated parents. 

As part of the program, Forte will teach a 12-week music therapy course at the City College of New York to students ages 12 to 15. Forte’s music therapy course will teach students how to use music as a way to relieve stress, anger, and other negative emotions.

"John hopes that the catharsis of song composition will help children deal with the stigma of having a family member who is incarcerated and rebuild the spirit of those who have been traumatized or abandoned," a representative for John Forte told

Several years ago Forte was arrested in a New Jersey airport after he was caught traveling with over a million dollars worth of liquid cocaine. He was then charged with possession charges and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Forte was eventually pardoned by President George W. Bush on November 24, 2008 [click to read] and was released from prison in December.

Most recently, Forte released  his version of Kanye West’s “Homecoming” [click to listen] featuring himself and Talib Kweli. On the song, Forte briefly mentions his time in jail.


  • Mama B

    Sorry but I am not really feeling like Brother John Forte should be celebrated here. While it is a blessing that he was released from incarceration, let's not forget the reasons in which he ended up there in the first place... his intent to sell an illegal substance... and that is real. While I don't doubt that he is regretful or that he is a talented young man or may have something important to share with the youth, but how about we share with the youth role models that didn't have to make babies, sell drugs to support them and then end up parenting from the penal system. How about praising the youth that may not be on the honor role every semester or attending IV league schools, but aren't participating in the racial genocide that involves the acquisition, the distribution, and the abuse of substances, both legal and illegal, that are no longer slowly killing our people, but doing it at an alarming rate? People… Are we now saying that it is okay to constantly fuck up, pay a supposed consequence, be allowed back into the community which supported us, just to spit on their supportive efforts and continue to practice the same destructive behaviors? Are we saying that it is okay to idolize the people who do these things and place them at a higher regard then those that clean up the street, take care of the sick, give their time to legitimate charities, and see about the well being of just not their families, but the community as a whole, not because it is part of a "work release program" or a part of their parole? Are we saying that it is okay to say to the child who struggles to get good grades, avoid the bullies and the threat of violence or substance abuse, with phrase such as "later for them books son. [XYZ] just got out of lock down and is doing fine. Calculus ain’t gonna help you in the street anyway"? People, it’s as if we didn't know the "N" word is not just that, but sadly it is a state of mind as well. Let's stop putting ourselves in these roles more than the "man" does. I am not gonna give love to the (wo)man who take for granted the struggle of those whose backs we literally stand on. Everyone is not perfect and we are all destined to make mistakes. But how many generations do we have to be in before we, as cliché as it may sound, make a change. Fact is I am tired of glorifying these so called "icons" who are half the time looking down on us but actually would not have been in their positions if it weren't for the love and support that they have received from the communities that they grew up in, which helped to propel their careers to these pivotal planes. I’m just saying give respect where it is due, when it is due. But sadly you can’t give it to someone without first respecting yourself. The message?… love and cherish yourself and when multiply do the same to your seeds. Why? That way they can grow up loving themselves, cherish themselves and ultimately respecting themselves, therefore making themselves a productive, real live influential member of society.

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