E.H.M.P.: How did you get involved with A.D. The General and The Elegant Hoodness Musical Program? And do you think it benefits the artists involved?
DAWN: I first became involved with E.H.M.P as a fan of N.A.N.. I would come through to the showcases and support the group. Then as time evolved I became part of the team in a way and now I’m bringing in talent to get these artists the exposure needed to further their careers. It absolutely benefits the artists because from the first step in registering for the showcase you get 2 interview in hip hop magazines, as well as an opportunity to make money by selling tickets to the showcase. Then if you win you will receive $12,000 in media prizes as well as a deal with Sony/Ioda. A lot of showcase’s just take your money and run.
E.H.M.P.: You are very talented artists. When did you first discover your talent? And do you prefer free hand as oppose to programs like Photo Shop and why?
DAWN: I first discovered my talents at a very young age which started with drawing. I just began drawing and loved to do it. It was a gift from GOD as well as my athletic abilities and my ear for talent. With help from my brother of course. My parents are also blessed with musical talents. As far as drawing, I prefer free hand because that's all I really know. Some of those programs are very difficult to learn but I’m willing to try anything to better my craft. But free hand is the best gift in drawing because everyone cannot draw freehand so that's a blessing.
E.H.M.P.: You are a real live “coach carter” for the kids in your community of Queens, NY. I know you have stepped in for your brother “Marc Ellis” and have opened a foundation in his memory. Where do you find the time and energy to help so many of the youth in queens? And do you plan to open a community center in the future?
DAWN: Before my brother passed away he asked me to coach in his honor if anything ever happened to him. So I’m fulfilling that wish. Also, let people l know “he lives through me now so you can continue to be mad.” Its hereditary so it’s only right I will continue to achieve goals in his memory. I am working on a foundation and I hope to have a community center or a court in Baisley Park put in his name. He has done so much for our community that he is due something in his honor for his efforts. Queens is my hometown and I love my community and these kids. So if I can represent my borough to the fullest with basketball and music helping these youth and young adults, I will. It is very time consuming and a battle with my body because of my disabilities but it is so worth it to see my kids get those H.S. diplomas and go on to college. To see them smile and give me a big hug for keeping them out of trouble. Parents and people in the community thanking me for a job well done. I do not get a dime for what I do but I feel we are losing too many kids to senseless violence and I’m on a mission to deflate those numbers.
E.H.M.P.: I hear you also a talented mc. Do you remember when you 1st fell in love with Hip Hop?
DAWN: I used to do a little deejaying and mcing with my brother when i was very young. So I fell in love with hip hop as young as 10 years old. I used to write my rhymes and everything. I did a rap in memory of my brother last year that was received well but I have no interest in being an artist. I will leave that to the young adults but I can give an occasional 16 bars if needed(smile)
E.H.M.P.: What are you ultimate goals with your new t-shirt company?
DAWN: My ultimate goal is to use the proceeds from the line to help the kids in the basketball/music realm. Without sponsors every dime comes out of my pockets which are limited. The t-shirt company is not new, let’s say I’m giving it new life. I put everything on hold to do the basketball team that now i feel is the right time to re launch Empty Pockets Apparel. It was created out of necessity of not having much and needing gear. I wanted to be a brand to the industry where you could look like a million bucks but at an affordable cost. The line will have some surprises in store as well as expansion into hats, sweats, jackets etc. Look out for EPA 2012-13. It's about to be a problem.
E.H.M.P.: If the world could remember you by one quote what would it be?
DAWN: One quote to remember me by is “she came, she conquered and she won on every level. And she is loyal.”
E.H.M.P.: And last words or Shout outs?
DAWN: I am looking for sponsors for my team for 2013 if you can help please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I had to put team on hold this summer due to no money. I had a kid tell me he cried because I was not having a summer team, I hope to change that next year. Thank you to A.D. and the team at E.H.M.P, to my basketball kids, showcase kids, family and my haters. Appreciate you, (smile). And to my brother Marc Ellison: Everything I do now is in memory of ME, (Marc Ellison). Love you Rest in Peace!
WRITTEN BY: A.D. THE GENERAL
COURTESY OF ELEGANT HOODNESS MUSICAL PROGRAM 2012’