Inspirations for newquill: New Media Literacies – Distributed Cognition

What tools are needed to transition the people from consumers to creators?

For hundreds of years the “old quill” has dictated what people could say and how they could communicate. Communication was for the privileged, educated, and the powerful. The “newquill” is not for the privileged, it is for the masses. It allows you to educate yourself. And it makes you powerful beyond belief.

Mass communication started with the African drum. Through a series of hand beats on some animal skin one could send messages to people miles away. Music has always served as a powerful tool, requiring specific instruments to give rise to the message. Instruments have, traditionally, been for the privileged, the educated, and the powerful. That began to change in the 20th century. And now everyone has access.

I visited with the founder and executive director, Ebenezer Bond, of World Up today at their funky office in SoHo today. We got into an intense discussion of hip hop and why it’s important to the world. Ebenezer told me, “The most ubiquitous musical genre in human history is hip hop. Why? Because it is comprised of the most simple, and important, aspects of communication – the voice and the drum.”

Hip hop gives us all a voice by giving us the drum. Hip hop is distributed cognition personified. We do not need to know musical charts, spend painful hours of practice, or spend money on luxury items. All we need to do is speak. We have the tools within us.

Then why don’t more people engage in hip hop creation? People have a voice – but do all people have a drum? I’d say that we do; however, just like we must learn how to speak, we must be trained to learn how to hear the drum.

Freestyle is a practice – not just through verbal flow, but learning to live life like a freestyle: to be spontaneous, to be fearless, to speak your mind, to mentally battle the forces that oppress you.

Here is my challenge: Try to freestyle. Do it anywhere – by yourself if you’re embarrassed (though you SHOULDN’T be!) Do it in the shower, do it walking down the street, under your breath, in your head. Listen for the drum. Then, when you hear it, speak your mind.

newquill will democratize 21st century writing. You don’t have to go to film school. You don’t have to take classes on studio production. You just need to speak up and know that the world wants to hear what you really have to say.

The world doesn’t want to hear another cheap rap knock-off. The world doesn’t need another thug, another gangster, another wannabe. The world needs you.

newquill will give you the tools to share your authentic voice with the world. newquill wants you to own what you create. newquill needs you to understand how much power you have inside of you! Your fingers are the newquill! Your mind is the ink! Your heart is the drum beat! You have everything you need!

We here at newquill know that the next generation wants to create. And, more than that, we know that they can create the most amazing works of art the world has ever seen. We know that they will startle the world with their displays of passion and awareness.

And here’s all the inspiration you need.

Take this beat and let it be consecrated frequency:


(0:15)I still dream about it,
not about the business,
but about the learning.
Yes, all about the listening.
The world is awakening.
The slumbering is shifting.
And I can feel the weight of the world finally lifting. 
I wonder if it’s only me,
how can l face the system?
Thank God that it isn’t. I can march with the million.
Why do we miss the targets
yet we’re shooting at our children?
They are not clay pigeons
yet we’re shooting them with symptoms –
sick, misfired pistons –
Detroit selling prisons. 
What happened to our vision?
Where’s E PLURIBUS UNUM?
Since 1983 we’ve been a Nation at Risk,
for some time now we’ve been blindly lead by Oedipus.
And here we are in the future and not a thing has changed,
but with newquill I know it can: wait for 2014.
Now we’ve gatling gunned our mission,
let me ask Henry Jenkins, is this a true example of distributed cognition?

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