by Derrick M. McCain Jr.

Recently at the New Hazlett Theater, the group 21:03, along with other artists, performed a Back to School concert. With a new school year here, students have a whole new set of tests to take inside and outside school.

Whether it was the latest test or the early hours you have to wake up, or the influence of drugs and gang violence on the streets, the readjusting is definitely challenging. That is why the concert was created to help students face these challenges.


Headlining the concert was the gospel trio 21:03. Hailing from Pajam records, the same record label that produced Destiny’s Child, N’Sync, and the Dru Hill albums, the Detroit-based trio has done well at such a young age. With a Stellar award and a Grammy nomination under their belt, their newest single: “Incredible” is available for download via ITunes. Other artists included Anita Bynum, rapper Chris “Revelation” Abbot, Earnest Canino, and Simone Jones.

“The purpose of this is to help change children’s mindsets when it comes to education,” said Russell Bynum, Bynum’s Marketing & Communications, Inc. who, along with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, the Pittsburgh Literacy Council, Family Links and several other sponsors, organized the concert. The companies sponsored the event hoping young people would see the positive influences in their lives and steer away from trouble. Proceeds from ticket sales also went to the Brown Chapel Heir Force, a ministry of Brown Chapel AME Church.

The concert was also held to encourage kids to make good choices and pay attention to the things they see and hear within the media these days. “For me as a marketeer I realize that images and messages promoted to our young people are negative. Our young people are getting many negative messages and seldom do they get any positive messages,” Bynum said. “We want our young people to think about what they put into their minds.”

“WOW Pittsburgh, ya’ll showed a lot of love!! Thanks for having’ us, it was like 21:03 ­UNPLUGGED!” the group 21:03 wrote on their Facebook Page a day after the show. Now with more than 10,041 fans on their Facebook page, and with constant accolades filling their wall, they hope to inspire their fans.

With an estimated 200 people at the concert, Bynum said he was pleased. He believed it to be a success, but only the beginning of the process to get the young people interested in education.

Whether it was an uplifting feeling in God or more of a focused mindset, when it comes to education the concert was definitely a success.

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