African American News

Peel Dem Layers Back, A Non-Profit That Uses Hip Hop Culture to Teach Black Boys How to Live Mentally Healthy Lives Lands Partnership with Theodore Roosevelt High School

Rapper and CEO of Cleveland Non-Profit Initiates A 10-Week Cohort Program To Equip Black Male Students with Coping Mechanisms to Treat Mental Illness

CLEVELANDNov. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Archie Green, hip-hop artist and CEO of non-profit Peel Dem Layers Back (PDLB), who also goes by the moniker, “The Cope Dealer,” has landed a partnership with Theodore Roosevelt High School of Kent City School District to implement a mental health-driven curriculum created for young Black males in public schools. The Cope Dealer Initiative is a 10-week comprehensive mental health awareness workshop designed to address areas of mental health impacting African-American males and offer practical ways to cope with daily stressors. Archie breaks down the tracklist off of his latest album, Cope Dealer, into modules.

Music is what the majority of the 11th and 12th-grade students of Theodore High School agree to be the best way to cope with their feelings of loneliness, trauma, anxiety, and depression. Archie learned this during his visit to the school on September 7, 2021, when introducing his organization’s Cope Dealer Workshop. This one-hour presentation ended with a live performance from the Cope Dealer album single, “Write it Down.”

Moments after the workshop ended and the auditorium emptied, Archie was approached by four Black male students interested in the program. As he spoke with the students, he realized how excited they were to learn more and even expressed other artistic projects they were working on. This moment inspired the CEO to pitch the 10-week program to the school’s guidance counselors who booked him for the workshop. What had initially been a workshop turned into the beginning of a partnership with the high school.

“I am thrilled we are [partnering with Peel Dem Layers Back to offer the] Cope Dealer Initiative to Theodore Roosevelt High School students of color. Our district is committed to providing an inclusive, respectful, and supportive learning environment valued racial diversity. I hope that embedding hip-hop music in Cope Dealer programming will open creative pathways for our students,” says George Joseph, superintendent of Kent City Schools.

In an online survey conducted by PDLB, 23 students who attended the Cope Dealer Workshop responded in how they practice self-care. Survey results show that 100% of the students identify with self-care and use music to help them; 65.2% of the students mostly listen to hip-hop as a genre, and 39.1% of students have not practiced mental health before the workshop. These key findings were used to decide bringing this 10-week program into the school’s educational curriculum.

“We’re excited to finally launch the Cope Dealer Initiative with our Pilot Program taking place at Theodore Roosevelt High in Kent,” says Green. “We’ve been working to develop the course curriculum in conjunction with the production and rollout of my accompanying album, Cope Dealer. This truly is a dream come true; we’re hoping to change the way schools approach mental health. We are also looking to help blaze the trails for harnessing the power of Hip-Hop to help Black men and boys heal.”

The program is expected to begin on Wednesday, November 10th, bi-weekly, led by Cope Dealer facilitator Ivan Conard. Ivan is a licensed social worker and graduate of Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences in Cleveland, OH, and fellow alumnus with Archie of Morehouse College. The funding of the program is from the Cleveland Foundation and the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland. The program is based in Cleveland, Ohio with plans to expand nationally. To learn more about bringing the program to a city near you, visit

SOURCE Peel Dem Layers Back Organization

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