Metro Vancouver, B.C. – A Surrey rap duo is winning awards, building fans and giving back.
Best friends and rapping English majors Rick "Big Love" Kumar and Calvin "Kalvonix" Tiu are using their music to reach out to high school students.
Kumar, who just graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), and Tiu, who will graduate from KPU in 2016, recently completed a four-month high school outreach program sponsored by the KPU English department, the Faculty of Arts, and Coca-Cola Refreshments.
Frontier Poetics took them to 16 high schools across the South Fraser region where they delivered a rap/spoken word/poetry workshop on the power of language, creativity, anti-bullying, lifelong friendships, and becoming teachers.
Frontier Poetics was a runaway success, with more than 700 students participating in the duo’s workshop performance.
In the spirit of giving back to the community, Kumar and Tiu have also created a one-time bursary in their name to support a struggling arts student.
“Alumni give back, but Rick and Calvin’s award would be the first of its kind for undergraduate students supporting other undergraduate students,” said KPU English instructor and Frontier Poetics manager Greg Chan. “They are also donating proceeds from the sale of their CD, Become the Dream, to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.”
Chan says this type of philanthropy is rare at the undergraduate level and speaks volumes about the men’s character and community awareness.
With support from Chan, a Faculty of Arts Excellence and Advancement award, and a Coca-Cola Refreshments grant, the duo just released their first music video, Hello Farewell, as a tribute to their university days and development into community role models. Last month, the rapping English majors performed Hello Farewell at KPU’s spring convocation ceremony, where Kumar also delivered a speech as his class valedictorian.
And on May 28, the two were awarded Top 25 Under 25 Awards by the Surrey Board of Trade. The best friends were co-nominated by instructors Chan and Sue Ann Cairns for their community activism and inspirational stories.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at www.kpu.ca.