Ma Dukes re-launches J Dilla Foundation

DETROIT  |  Ma Dukes Re-Launches J Dilla Foundation: On January 25th, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey announced the re-establishment of her non-profit organization tasked with ensuring the authenticity of her son’s legacy, including funding community and youth music programs.  New co-chair, Kindra Parker, also of Detroit, re-established the foundation with Mrs. Yancey at the top of 2010, and is excited to be announcing a re-formed and comprehensive staff to carry out the mission and programs of the official J Dilla Foundation.

As many know, Ma Dukes has withstood a long, frustrating legal battle with the Dilla Estate, administrated by a Los Angeles law firm, fighting since the Fall of 2006 for rights to her own son’s name and likeness, even for non-profit projects (the original incarnation of the J Dilla Foundation was forced into hiatus just months after its inception in 2006, the same year as his death).  Finally, more than 3 years later, the Yancey family is pleased to report the re-structuring of the Dilla Estate with a new legal consult head in Los Angeles, and full cooperation of the Estate with the Foundation.  In addition to suffering the stresses of the Estate and Foundation battles, Ma Dukes herself has been struggling physically with the same disease, Lupus, from which her son fell to, so this victory for her and the entire family is twice a relief.

The J Dilla Foundation will be comprised of a qualified and diverse team executing a range of both community and youth music programs, mentorships, partnerships with accredited music curricula with focus on Hip Hop, as well as a scholarship program.  Parker states that there will be an annual university music scholarship awarded to one or more students attending schools with progressive music programs such as Berklee College of Music, Columbia University and the University of Michigan, among others.

The J Dilla Foundation also has an amazing Sound Board consisting of the cadre of musicians, producers, MCs and DJs that worked closely with Jay Dee over the course of his shortened, yet prolific, career.  Not only will this crew provide insightful and inspiring sound bites about the music of J Dilla, but they will also serve as the other half of the committee that will judge J Dilla Foundation music scholarship submissions from applicants.  This aspect of the Foundation indeed makes for a truly interactive operation, bridging the gap between the “real” or “street” sector and academia in music development.  Notable members of the J Dilla Foundation Sound Board include acclaimed artists such as ?uestlove of The Roots, Erykah Badu, Q-Tip & Phifedawg of A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, Pete Rock, Dwele, T3 of Slum Village, Big Tone, Madlib, DJ HouseShoes, J Rocc & Rhettmatic of The Beat Junkies, Peanutbutter Wolf of Stones Throw Records, the Mochilla crew, and more.

2010 is most definitely a win so far for Ma Dukes and the entire extended Yancey family with both the Dilla Estate being led by an amicable new LA attorney, as well as, at long last, the Dilla Foundation off the ground in official capacity with complete blessing from the Estate.  As Mary would say, finally, no more drama. (at least we hope)  And just in time for Dilla Month.

Be sure to lookout for official J Dilla Foundation benefit events in your city, as well as fantastic new music education programs launching in Detroit, Atlanta and Los Angeles in the Fall of 2010.*Support Real Music*

+ The J Dilla Estate has also re-launched their public platform and website, now welcoming your licensing inquiries. If you are interested in licensing any portion of Dilla’s vast catalog of work for any project, please reach out to the Dilla Estate via http://www.j-dilla.com to be sure that all publishing sales directly benefit those that Jay Dee designated as his executors.

*Although over recent years there was much skepticism surrounding whether or not Dilla’s family, especially Ma Dukes, was receiving their proper dues from his estate, or even the rights to use his name or likeness in genuine efforts to perpetuate his legacy (the first incarnation of the Foundation forced into hiatus under cease & desist order by the Estate, even though chaired by Ma Dukes herself), the Yancey family and fans alike can rest assured that both the Estate and the Foundation are now in full partnership and moving forward on legitimate grounds.

+  The J Dilla Foundation, a separate but cooperative organization, is a [pending] 501[c]3 non-profit, which will create, approve and administrate all Dilla legacy programs such as music production workshops, clinics, contests and scholarships worldwide. Program participants will often have the opportunity to work directly with members of the J Dilla Foundation Sound Board.  If you are interested in contributing to the Foundation, whether it be financially or through volunteer efforts, you may donate directly through the Foundation website or inquire about volunteer opportunities via the contact information here: http://www.jdillafoundation.org

+ The J Dilla Project is the Alliance for Lupus Research arm of official Dilla philanthropy, which is a registered group with the ALR, also led by Yancey family members, and organizes Lupus Walk pledge groups in several cities during the official ALR seasonal fundraiser walks.  You can sign up to walk with a Dilla Project team in your city (with whom Ma Dukes & co almost always walk) or pledge online via their website as well:  http://www.lupusresearch.orghttp://www.myspace.com/jdillaproject

Raise It Up for Ma Dukes so we can Turn It Up!

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— Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology