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Grammy winner brings Hendervision to Federal Way
Justin "Henny" Henderson, a Grammy award-winning music producer and 1998 Decatur High School grad, is looking to give back to his hometown of Federal Way.
In June, Henderson was honored by the city council with a "Justin Henderson Day" on June 5. This time out, he was in town to speak to the Federal Way Public Schools board during its Aug. 28 meeting.
Henderson shared his thoughts and hopes for future projects he can do in Federal Way and the Puget Sound area.
"And so when I actually got the news, I was so astounded," Henderson said, referring to the city bestowing those honors on him in June. "I was like, 'Wait, we can't just go back up there and receive an award, we have to do something.' So us three, along with a couple of other friends of mine, decided to start what we are now calling 'Henny Week.' And that consisted of a slew of activities we did, from speaking at Decatur and Federal Way (high schools), and talking to them about setting their goals high and that anything is possible if you just do not quit."
Henderson, who now lives in Atlanta, Ga., flew back to the Pacific Northwest so he could visit the Boys and Girls Club of Federal Way, local Boy Scouts groups, and his church in Tacoma, as part of "Henny Week."
Part of the week also consisted of a talent show, in which one lucky winner, Patrick D'Angelo, was picked for a recording session in a full studio with Henderson and his team.
"The top winner, he got to have a full recording studio with me and my production team this past weekend. It was great to come back and work with the winner of the talent show," he said.
Henderson said he and his colleagues who attended the Aug. 28 meeting, Masherri Conyer and Eshon Everett, wanted to speak to the school board so they can really try and make Henny Week and its related but newly-formed non-profit organization, Hendervision, a regular fixture in the Federal Way community.
"This year, we definitely want to get more involved in the schools and help inspire," Henderson said, before turning the presentation over to Conyer.
"One of the main things we wanted to do, is to provide students with tools and resources to empower the next generation," Conyer said, referring to Hendervision. "All of our kids are visionaries. They have something inside of them they want to show. They have something they want to do. It's our opportunity, as adults in education and elsewhere, to make sure that can happen."
Conyer said the hopes for Hendervision would touch on a few different areas, including supporting educational excellence, stressing the importance of graduation, providing scholarships, providing unique workshops, and stressing the importance of community service.
"Everything can't be done without community service. We have to give back, and that's what we're committed to," Conyer said.
Everett, Henderson and Conyer were at the board meeting to start the dialogue early this year and continue Henny Week in 2013. One of the things Everett said she hopes can be achieved with Henny Week 2013 is to reach out to middle school students.
"It's a known fact that a lot of students will start to stray away during those years (middle school years), and a lot of the time by high school, they're already gone," Everett said. "Middle school is the age we'd really like to start instilling this idea of visionary success."
Henderson graduated from Decatur High School in 1998, and went on to graduate from Moorehouse College with honors. He has worked with a veritable list of the "Who's Who" in the rap and hip-hop genres, including Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Nas and Chris Brown. Henderson won his Grammy in 2011 for the work he did on Brown's album, "F.A.M.E." For more information on Henderson's music production company, visit www.thabizness.com.