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Meet K-Rahn Vallatine of Live Above the Hype

Today we’d like to introduce you to K-Rahn Vallatine.

K-Rahn, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Growing up in the 1980’s and 90’s during the height of the crack epidemic, I traveled back and forth between California and Indiana. Though I spent the majority of my life in California, I spent every summer in Indiana and lived there during part of my high school years.

Though the two states were very different, I found both regions offered me and my peers the same toxins: guns, dope, fast money, jail, gangs and a false self-identity. Unfortunately, during this era, much of the community ties and adult influence that previous generations had experienced was lost. I, like most of my peer group, grew up in a fatherless home, learning lessons about manhood and self-worth from rappers and movie characters. I was taught by my culture that I had a moral obligation to be a so-called “real n*gga.” Being anything less was sinful. I was raised by a strong, dedicated mother who spoke life into me in spite of many of the destructive teachings that I received from the culture that co-raised me.

By God’s grace, I made it to college which offered me a new environment and exposed me to new ways of thinking. I began to make a transformation and realized that I, like many in my peer group, had been misled by the streets and deceived by urban pop culture. It was then that I committed within myself to uplifting and empowering the next generation to “live above the hype” that they are often fed on a daily basis by their surroundings.

After graduating, I became a teacher. Then five years later, I transitioned into working with LA’s incarcerated youth. It was there that I observed that much of the programming aimed at educating youth did not directly address the culture, trauma or value system that fueled much of their counterproductive behavior. I then developed a life skills curriculum titled “Live Above the Hype” to help gang and drug impacted community members critically think about and reflect on how values influence our behaviors and life outcomes. Next, I developed a series of training for youth service providers looking to enhance the way they engage with gang and drug impacted youth. Finally, I decided to write a book titled “Beyond the Crack Generation: Surviving a Trauma Organized Culture.” This book is an autobiographical journey into the psyche of a young black male, born during the crack epidemic, searching for positive self-identity.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
A struggle throughout my road was overcoming self-limiting beliefs. I’ve grown to learn that the world around me is a reflection of the world within me.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Live Above the Hype – what should we know?
We provide communities with trauma-informed professional development that enhances the lens and strengthens the skills of youth service providers (teachers, mentors, counselors, coaches, therapists, parents, etc.). We also offer a socially relevant life skills & character development curriculum that helps educate gang and drug impacted youth to make healthy life decisions. As a company, I am proud of being able to identify the strength in our past wounds and personal struggle and using it to positively impact others. Our training are socially relevant to the gang and drug impacted communities we serve.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Empathy is by far the most important quality to our success. Keeping our fingers on the pulse of the communities we serve and being willing and able to see from their viewpoints is key.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.crackgeneration.com
  • Email: k.rahn@liveabovethehype.com
  • Instagram: liveabove.hype
  • Facebook: liveabovethehypepage

Image Credit:
Jon Hwang

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