High School documentary project examines drummers throughout Philly history

Baba Crowder. Credit: Thomas B. Morton.
Robert “Baba” Crowder founded a dance and drum ensemble. Credit: Thomas B. Morton

Kemi Jackson, 16, got a taste of Robert “Baba” Crowder’s legend on a class trip and wanted to know more.

“I never knew who Baba was until now,” Jackson said. “So learning about someone who has been in Philly way longer than me and the impact he had on people’s lives and the community around him was really amazing.”

So for her submission for the 2013 Documentary History Project for Youth, the Academy at Palumbo student examined the memory of the man who founded a dance and drum ensemble and played with many renowned musicians.

“Just learning about him was awesome,” Jackson said.

Scribe Video Center Academy at Palumbo on Sunday premiered “Philly Drums,” a collection of films produced by high school students. The films were screened at the University of the Arts.

Each year the Youth Project focuses on an aspect of the social, political or cultural history of Philadelphia. This year’s documentary projects explored the history of drumming in the city, with themes including the legacy of rock drumming in the city, the combination of drumming and dance, jazz drumming and the career of Robert “Baba” Crowder.

The theme was chosen to honor three local drummers who died last year, including Baba. “And I thought that it would be cool to do it on him since the whole reason we’re doing the history of drumming is because of his passing away,” Jackson said.

Louis Massiah, executive director of Scribe, said making the films taught the students about their community and helped them acquire new skills.

“And discover talents they didn’t know they had,” he said.

The films

“The Legacy of Rock Drumming in Philadelphia,” by Aneesah Islam of New Media Tech Charter School and Olivia Johnson of Harriton High School.

“Give the Drummer Something Real,” by Chris Neal of A. Philip Randolph Career and Technical High School

“African Drumming and Dancing: Marriage through the Ages,” by Gianna Smith of The Episcopal Academy

“Jazz Drumming,” by Edison Quinones-Vasquez of Frankford High School

“The Memory of Robert ‘Baba’ Crowder,” by Kemi Jackson of Academy at Palumbo


Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia


Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…


Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…


Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…


China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…


Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…


What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…


Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.


3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.


NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.


Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.


VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…


Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…


Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…