Instructor Spotlight: Justin “JustMe” Long Teaches Hip-Hop Saturday Seminar

Justin JustMe Long

On Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 10 AM-2 PM, the Carnegie Center will offer its first course in hip-hop led by Justin “JustMe” Long, an award winning recording artist, emcee, producer, and DJ. He has performed all over the US and abroad. JustMe hosts The Foundation Hip-Hop Open Mic and performs both as a solo artist and as a member of Tribe Called Lex. Keep an eye out for his upcoming project “Hajime” dropping in April 2015.

Where did the idea for a hip hop open mic come from?

I attended Hip-Hop open mics when I was a teenager. It was a rite of passage to rock an open mic back in the day. We’ve had them in Lexington before, but they were short lived. I felt like our scene needed a consistent all-ages hip-hop event. Luckily, some of my friends felt the same and were willing to help make it happen.

How long have you all been hosting an open mic series?

The first installment of The Foundation was on February 20th, 2014. We’ve been doing it on the third Thursday of each month since then.

Can you tell us a little bit about what goes on at a typical Foundation?

When people first start arriving, the DJ is spinning.  Emcees are putting their names on “the list” and catching up, and once we’ve got a crowd, the magic begins.  I usually set it off by covering the house rules:

1. When your name is called you get 5 minutes
2. You can rock over your own track, what the DJ plays, or acapella
3. Be respectful

Other than the occasional special guest performance, you never know what you’re going to get. We always take up a collection to buy a newbie some music from The Album at the end of the night. It’s organic.  It’s exciting! And it’s always a good time!

Any other details? When/Where/Cover?

It is almost always on the 3rd Thursday of the month.  9pm at The Album, 371 S. Limestone (We use the back door).  The normal cover is $3. People can join our Facebook page for details.

What’s going on Thursday, the 19th?

This month is special because it is our 1 year anniversary.  We decided to bring the underground downtown so, this month The Foundation is at Natasha’s Bistro.  Because it is a special event, the cover is $5.  We will have both Mykraphone Mike and Tommy Mizzla spinning.  We will have a couple special performances, and some giveaways as well! Justin 3000 Stewart performs live art at many of the open mics, and he and Six Bomb Boards will be doing live art on Thursday.


What was the inspiration for the Saturday Seminar class?

I have lead similar workshops at an annual conference in Australia and a certain friend suggested that I do it here too!  Haha! (This is where the Red Door Writers Blog curator winks conspiratorially)

When I was in high school, some older guys took me under their wing taught me how to be a better artist. They mentored me and taught me how to be a professional. Hopefully I can help some artists in a similar way.

What sorts of materials and abilities does a student need to bring? What kind of topics will you cover?

Definitely bring something to take notes on!  If you’re an emcee, bring some rhymes.  Other than that, just bring a willingness to interact!  This workshop is hands-on!  I’m bringing my turntables, mics, beat machine, etc.

What can a student expect to take away from this class?

If the student is an artist, then they can expect to come away with an idea about how to take their artistry to the next level.

For those who are just interested in learning more about Hip-Hop, I think they will leave with a pretty good understanding of how the music is created.

Other Info:

You can follow JustMe on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @justmeofsi

Check out the video for his song, “Knob Creek” ft. Sheisty Khrist & Marcus Wilkerson here:

A Novel in a Month? Where Do I Sign up?

Jennifer Hester Mattox is an award-winning writer with 18 years of professional experience in journalism, marketing, and grantwriting.  At the Carnegie Center, she coordinates the Kentucky Great Writers series and emcees the related open mic sessions. She leads writing workshops at the Carnegie Center, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, and central Kentucky libraries. While this class has already passed, for all things NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), Jennifer is your go-to gal!

8-22-11 pix modified headshot

What was the inspiration for a NaNoWriMo class?

Prior to participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNo WriMo), I’d watch people who participated start out with a bang, then drop out after a week or more. Writing 50,000 words in a month is quite a challenge, and I was afraid I’d fail to meet the goal. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t have the dedication; I just didn’t have the time.  I’m a full-time working mom who’s also a charity volunteer and the extended family’s Thanksgiving Day hostess, so I knew my November was already pretty full. But, I’d always dreamed of writing a novel that would one day become published, so I decided I was going to give NaNo WriMo a try and see how close I could get to the 50K word goal.

After participating the first time in 2010 and winning (meeting my goal count), I realized that writing 50K words in a month was not only possible, but my writing was better for it. I learned how to push aside self-doubt (I didn’t have time for it!), to make the most of my writing time, and to find more time to write. I also realized that writing everyday toward my novel made it easier to keep track of characters and plot.

I figured there were others out there like me who didn’t think they could be successful at writing 50,000 words in a month, so I decided to lead this seminar and share the strategies that worked for me.

To help you plan your month of writing, we are offering three How To Write a Novel in 30 Days seminars at various locations (see pages 6 and 7 of our brochure). Then, if you’re a night owl, join the Carnegie Center and Joseph-Beth for an overnight write-in (see page 6). We are a 2014 “Come Write-In” location, so bring your laptop or notebook to the Carnegie Center to write your novel! For more NaNoWriMo events happening in Lexington, visit and check out the Local Events tab.


“Writing for Kids” workshop

What was the inspiration for this class?

The “Writing for Kids” workshop evolved as a direct result of participants’ requests from past workshops. It’s one thing to discuss strategies in isolation, another to see them successfully implemented, and still another to put them into practice. This workshop does it all. Strategies and techniques will be presented in the context of class discussions and by reviewing the bestselling novel, The Giver, by Lois Lowry. Participants will be encouraged to apply the strategies and techniques to their own writing, and time will be provided for peer review of works-in-progress. The goal is to see specific concepts in the context of a published book and then to learn how to immediately start to apply them to our own writing.

What sorts of materials and abilities does a student need to bring?

Each participant is encouraged to buy their own copy of THE GIVER by Lois Lowry since we’ll be using that book to help identify plot and writing elements. Having a draft in progress—or at least an idea for a story—will also be beneficial.

What kind of topics will you cover?

We’ll discuss all aspects of writing novels for kids including building plots, writing compelling openings, character development, and writing scenes. The informal structure will also provide time to discuss marketing strategies.

What can a student expect to take away from this class?

Participants can expect to walk away with strategies and techniques that can be immediately applied to their works-in-progress. The ultimate goal is to motivate writers to finish the books they’ve been wanting to write.

Marcia Thornton Jones is a former Fayette County teacher and an award-winning author/co-author of more than 130 traditionally published books for children with sales totally more than 40 million copies worldwide. She’s also a Carnegie Center writing mentor and workshop presenter.