Speaker Series: Producer, Designer, DJ on Making Money with Media


James “Armstead Brown” Brown discusses classes offered at Lighthouse Project | Photograph by Daevan Mangalmurti

Sam Bisno, Editor-in-Chief

In a departure from the lecture style that Obama students have come to expect from the school’s speaker series, representatives from the Homewood-Brushton YMCA visited Obama on Tuesday for a small-group discussion on media literacy.

Officially titled “Turn Your Hobbies Into Side Hustles,” the conversation, as the name suggests, centered around monetizing everything from beat making to video editing to graphic design—things that many students already pursue in their free time, but may not have previously considered as a potential way to collect some extra coin.

Each representing a different media discipline, Armstead Brown, a producer; Mr. K, a visual artist; and DJ Shoe, a—you guessed it—DJ, shared the lessons they learned turning their passions into careers. In addition to practicing their respective trades, all three work at the YMCA’s Lighthouse Project, a state-of-the-art recording studio and photo-video-audio editing facility that offers free after-school classes to high schoolers.

The discussion was both wide-ranging and interactive, as students had the opportunity to chime in with stories of their own avocations and ask questions of the experts. The topics covered included the benefits of collaborating with other aspiring artists, the importance of having a pitch prepared at all times, and the need to balance one’s online presence with a healthy Rolodex of real-life mentors and connections.

Interested high-schoolers can sign up for Lighthouse classes here. Dedicated courses with professional instructors as well as informal sessions that still allow access to the program’s many resources are available. Transportation and dinner are provided.