Monday, September 28, 2020
Local Organization ‘Change the Tune’ Reimagines South L.A.  
By Kimberlee Buck, Staff Writer 
Published March 7, 2019

Change the Tune founder Charli Kemp. (photo courtesy of Roberto Hernandez/ Next Level Shutter)

Charli Kemp has always been infatuated with music and cooking and how these activities bring people together. During the summer of 2017, Kemp’s two passions would intertwine creating her ideal non-profit Change the Tune. 

Who is Charli Kemp? 

Prior to launching Change the Tune, the Leimert Park native had dreams of becoming a lawyer and studying business. After graduating from Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES), Kemp attended and graduated from Spelman College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science.  


“I’ve always been the kid who sold candy in school, so [I like to say] I had an entrepreneurial spirit. When I went to Spelman for College, that’s kind of what influenced me. I was like [political science] for law and economics for business and then my plan was to get a JD/MBA” she said.  

Charli Kemp (courtesy photo)

After completing her undergraduate degree, Kemp taught middle school math and science in New York City through Teach for America. In the classroom, Kemp integrated music and cooking in her lessons to teach students how to apply math and science concepts to real world experiences.  

Shortly after her five year tenure, Kemp decided to pursue an MBA at University of Southern California’s (USC) School of Business. Later, she joined Green Dot Public schools as a cluster business manager. Today, Kemp is a leadership and life coordinator for Green Dot.  Kemp’s educational background, combined with her experience as an educator, exposed her to the issues students were facing in the South Los Angeles area. Thus, Kemp decided to ‘Change the Tune’ and recreate “the system of inequity that perpetuates negative narratives. 

The Birth of Change the Tune 

“The goal of Change the Tune is to create new systems that disrupt the system, that breaks down the system and that hopefully forges a new system to create what we want to see in our society,” said Kemp. 

According to Kemp, a few of the challenges impacting the South Los Angeles community are [the] lack of access to healthy food options,  [the] lack of physical space for afterschool activities, and [the] lack of combined affordable and quality food options at music venues. 

Change the Tune was curated to tackle these problems “by bringing people together to connect, synergize, and collaborate leveraging the universal connector’s music and food.  

Artist Keki performs at “For the Change” musical showcase event. (photo courtesy of Roberto Hernandez/ Next Level Shutter)

The non-profit organization accomplishes this by utilizing a three part model to help urban working professionals and local youth. Part one of the model allowed Change the Tune to team up with the non-profit organization Aim 4 the Heart to produce “For the Change,” a semi-annual music show case event inspired by social impact. Although the event provides attendees with healthy dinner, drinks, and a show, the primary purpose behind the music showcase is to create conversations about social challenges and raise funds for local youth after school activities. 

Tickets are priced between $15 and $20 and all proceeds go towards Change the Tune’s student programming to support underserved communities.  

The second part of the model, which launched in February 2019, is the organization’s  free after school multidisciplinary arts lab which is held at Hot & Cool Café in Leimert Park.  

The lab, equips youth ages 10-14 with the critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, creativity, and communication skills that are needed to thrive in the 21st century.  

Local youth in the multidisciplinary arts lab at Hot & Cool Café. (courtesy photo)

Kemp, who is also the Change the Tune lab instructor, helps children develop these skills through entrepreneurship, STEM, and trauma informed art practices like culinary arts, music/performing arts and visual arts.   

The third piece of the model is social impact and consulting. 

We target small businesses and business looking to increase their impact within underserved communities,” said Kemp.  

Additionally, our consulting practice and after-school program work with larger companies to create pipelines increasing diversity and inclusion within various sectors.” 

What’s next for Change the Tune? Kemp told the Los Angeles Sentinel that her primary focus is establishing the organization. However, in the future she plans to start a Change the Tune summer camp.  

The Change the Tune multidisciplinary arts lab is free of charge and held every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30pm-5:30pm beginning February 12th through June 6th at Hot & Cool Café located at 4331 Degnan Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90008. Snacks will be provided.  

To register your child for the multidisciplinary arts lab or for more information on how you can donate or volunteer with Change the Tune please visit or call (213) 709-9315.  

Categories: Business | Crenshaw & Around | Education | Family | Health | Local | News | News (Business) | News (Family)
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