(L-to-R) Roc Nation boxer, Daniel “Twitch” Franco, DJ Reflex, Big Sean, STATE Bags Co-Founder Jacqueline Tatelman, DJ Mustard & STATE Bags Co-Founder Scot Tatelman. Photo By Steve Lucero, (Courtesy Billy Farrell Agency )
Nearly ten years ago, Scot and Jacqueline “Jacq” Tatelman launched Camp Power, to enrich the summers of low income youth in New York. Upon noticing that many of the camp participants were carrying their possessions in trash bags, the idea for STATE Bags was born. With every purchase of a stylish bag which comes in a host of designs and colors, the company provides a backpack for a child in need throughout the U.S.
In a few short years, the Tatelman’s have successfully transformed their idea into a movement. The brand received a major cosign from none other than the queen herself—Beyonce and her BeyGood Foundation for a special edition bag and school supplies. STATE Bags has since been featured in countless publications including VOGUE, Instyle and Vanity Fair Magazines as well as on “FOX News” and “The Today Show”.
Speaking of Beyonce, STATE Bags in conjunction with Jay-Z’s multi-media company, Roc Nation and President Obama’s mentorship initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, recently held an unforgettable “GiveBackPack” pep rally at 42nd Street Elementary School in Los Angeles.
Coincidently, Roc Nation producer, DJ Mustard is an alum of the school. He along with Roc Nation artists, Big Sean, DJ Reflex and boxer, Daniel “Twitch” Franco, recently spent an afternoon encouraging students to use their new backpacks as a place to store their dreams. In the midst of setting up for the event, Scot and Jacqueline shared their excitement to be working with Roc Nation which also participated in a similar event in New York with radio personality Angie Martinez and singer Santigold. “When we approached Roc Nation with the idea, we thought it was a match made in heaven because so many of their artists could reconnect with communities that are similar to one they grew up in,” said Scot. “The fact that this is a homecoming for DJ Mustard, he as well as all of the artists understand what the kids are going through and that’s exactly the types of partnerships on the giving side that we try to work with.”
When the pep rally commenced, DJs from one of L.A.’s most popular radio stations, Power 106 helped to energize the students with a mix of their favorite songs. Before distributing the new bags to their excited young fans, the esteemed guests were asked to share what they carried in their bag when they were students. “I’ve been rapping since I was 5 or 6-years-old. I always kept a notebook of rhymes in my bag,” shared Big Sean. “Growing up in Detroit, it’s kind of like growing up here, it’s easy to get caught up in the wrong situations in the streets so that notebook was not only for my rhymes, it also helped me stay out of trouble so I could do what I love and follow that path,” said Big Sean to the captivated audience of nearly 200 students, teachers and school administrators.
The Grammy nominated rapper who’s an avid reader cites Deepak Chopra’s, “Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success” and “Ask And It Is Given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks among his favorite books. When asked how he would encourage his young fans to value their education while at the same time believing in the power of manifestation, Sean shared, “If you believe you can, if you think you can, that means God put it in your path for you to be able to accomplish it. There’s more than one way to successfully achieve whatever your goals may be. You have to figure out a way to maximize your time and still enjoy life.” He added, “I want to get the message to the kids that it’s not about how hard you work, it’s about how smart you work, how passionate you are as well as the love and the energy you put into things.”
At the youthful age of 26, South Central native DJ Mustard has already produced nearly twenty multi-platinum hits in the last five years for the likes of Big Sean, Rihanna, Trey Songz and Drake to name a few. Despite the fact that technology and social media gives many of Mustard’s fans the access and opportunity to get a head start on their careers at an incredibly young age, he shared that in addition to their education, the social skills they gleam from staying in school is invaluable. “Education is very important whether or not you think you’re going to need every aspect of it. Learn as much as you can, don’t just get by and get good grades because you’re told to, there’s so much you can apply to your everyday life.” Mustard, who was accompanied at the pep rally by his young daughter added, “School helps you learn how to respect authority; it helped me understand how to be a man.” The busy producer who jetted off to Las Vegas following the event is putting the finishing touches on his highly anticipated new project, “Cold Summer”. When asked why it was imperative for him to return to participate in his alma mater’s pep rally Mustard shared, “I have a lot of memories here. Events like this don’t happen often in this area. The kids need to see that you can make it out of here because I made it out.”
Echoing similar sentiments on how school teaches life skills that transcends the classroom, producer and Power106 personality DJ Reflex shared, “When I was asked to be apart of the event it was an immediate ‘yes’. As a father, I think anytime an adult can talk to kids and help them get prepared for the things that life throws at them, as well as provide them with the right supplies in their bags will help them to stay focus on their ambitious goals in life. It’s an honor to be apart of this event.”
Big Sean and Mustard have been consistent in using their platforms to be of service to their communities.
Through his Sean Anderson Foundation, Big Sean helped raised nearly $100K to provide clean water and adequate resources for students affected by the Flint Water Crisis. Sean also has a ‘Mogul Prep’ program within several Detroit high schools which teaches students about the various career opportunities available within the music industry.
L.A. natives can next catch DJ Mustard during the holiday season doing a turkey giveaway for Thanksgiving as well as giving care packages to the homeless on Skid Row during Christmas.
For those inspired to be a part of the STATE Bags movement, visit statebags.com to either purchase a bag or give donations, both options will “put a bag right into the hands of a child in need,” said Jacq. On where you can expect to see STATE Bags next, she adds, “We will go whereever there is a need. So the more bags we sell, the more we can give.”