Mr. Deep Positivity's Recommendations
February 28, 2021,
To Whom This May Concern:
My name is Deborah Saint-Vil and I had the honor of serving the community as Miss Rhode Island 2010 as a representative of the Miss America Pageant. Beginning that year and throughout my reign, I had the pleasure of volunteering and performing with James McBride, Mr. Deep Positivity. I served alongside him through appearances and his long-term after-school program called “Non-Violent Verses,” where James exposes students to music production, songwriting, rapping, singing, instrument-playing, and honing positive messages to share with their peers. I also appeared in content for his cable access television show named “Deep Lessons for Life.” During our school performances, I would sing verses written by the students and/or James himself.
James produces a unique style of music that combines entertainment with perennially necessary messages for young people. His educational song topics range from anti-bullying and nonviolence to self-esteem boosting. In my work with James, I witnessed firsthand his dedicated work with the youth of Rhode Island. He illuminates a side of rap music that most youth have ever seen. His value lies not only in his music production or writing skills, but in his skilled rap-performance ability. When he performs onstage and freestyles, he legitimizes positive rap to students, as they can see that a great message can coincide with an excellent flow.
As a volunteer, I accompanied James on his school visits, spending after-school sessions with students and helping them write positive song lyrics, sing with proper technique, practice performing, and produce music. During the school semester, we would regularly run the sessions for enrolled students, moving through stages of drafting a song topic, helping students contribute lyrics and music. It all culminated in positive songs written and performed by the students themselves, with James as producer and performer. The students gained confidence in their talents and were led to focus on making a positive difference versus focusing energy on unproductive or harmful activities.
In many ways, James' work with students was also a form of music therapy for them. We worked in neighborhoods in Providence where many students were underserved and disadvantaged. James's practice of mentoring the kids as they wrote positive song lyrics that related to their lives and struggles taught them how to make sense of their experiences and think through the thinking patterns that would lead them in the direction they ought to go.
I learned so much from James as we worked together. He was one of my musical mentors as well as the students. He taught me so many aspects of production as I sat with him through his process, and he gave me useful feedback after our school performances. It was a pleasure to talk to James about his endless plans and visions for the good of the youth he made music for. I fondly remember long recording sessions in his studio listening to beats, mixing music, and scheduling new opportunities to advance the mission.
One of my favorite experiences was filming the music video for the song “Don’t Bully!” written and performed with the students of Gilbert Stuart Middle School in 2010. The kids were so excited to be in the spotlight, and it was a great culmination of all the individual efforts of the students who each wrote a verse and had a hand in producing the video. With James’ leadership, we were free to have fun and express ourselves while creating a great end-product.
James McBride deserves recognition and support not only for the quality of his music, but for his years-long influence on children's development. His reach of over 100,000 young people in the state has surely changed the trajectory of Rhode Island's educational system, as students emerge positively influenced by his message and enriching after-school program experiences.
Miss Rhode Island 2010
March 5th, 2021
To Whom it May Concern,
It is my pleasure to recommend James McBride, Mr. Deep Positivity, for his exceptional work as a positive rap-educator. My organization, Providence Promise, began working with James in 2018 when we launched the “Follow Your Dreams Tour”. Since then, James has been a partner and an ambassador of our program for the benefit of children and families in Providence, RI.
The Follow Your Dreams Tour, which continued from 2018 until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a high energy, upbeat program that uses rap music to get young people in our community to dream about future careers, to consider what type of education they might pursue, and to educate families on what Providence Promise can do to help students achieve their goals. Mr. Deep Positivity’s original music delivers powerful, positive messages, encouraging children to follow their dreams, and the energy and interactive components of the performances get children and their parents excited and involved at each event.
During the two years the Follow Your Dreams Tour took place, Mr. Deep Positivity and Providence Promise visited about 15 schools all over the City of Providence, bringing the performances to thousands of children and families. We worked closely with MDP to design the Tour, a two-part program involving both a school assembly and a Family Fun Night.
At school day assemblies, Mr. Deep Positivity spoke to students and performed positive rap songs, including his original “Providence Promise Song,” written for the tour. The response from students exceeded our already high expectations; kids at each venue embraced Mr. Deep Positivity’s messages, as they clapped and sang along. Even teachers and administrators got into the act, many wearing college t-shirts and some decorating hallways with college banners and college-themed bulletin boards. For the following Family Fun Nights, students were invited to create something to showcase their plans for the future. A highlight of each evening was the children’s presentations of their contest entries, on stage with MDP, which included posters, poems, and drawings, describing their dreams to become lawyers, teachers, firemen, and rappers - like Mr. Deep.
James is a talented writer, rapper, and performer, and is a great role model for the children he brings his positive music to.
Please reach out to me should you have any additional questions.
Executive Director, Providence Promise
c: (401) 572-2184