'The Happiness Club' Keeps it Positive

To keep young people from joining gangs, Chicago is offering a more positive alternative. Rap music often earns its bad rep. But CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers reports Chicago's "Happiness Club"is giving rap a whole new spin.

"Our message is we're spreading happiness," said Tanji Harper, Artistic Director of The Happiness Club. "We are spreading good vibes all over."

Its 50 performers come from different races and neighborhoods.

College junior Elana Schulman said, "I'm one of the most positive people, and it is a result of the Happiness Club."

Twenty-year-old Edward Taylor grew up on Chicago's South Side and admits he thought twice about joining a club called "Happiness."

"I liked everything about it, except the name," he said.

Was it too corny?

"Yea, it was," he replied.

But now Edward raps eloquently, about believing in himself and staying out of trouble.

"All of my life, I try to live right, I try to be nice," he rapped.

The Happiness Club

The Happiness Club writes all its own songs, has recorded a music video, and even performed at the White House Christmas.

But the real payoff from all the hard work comes off stage. Over the last ten years every kid who has gone through this program has graduated and gone on to college. Since 1992, 400 kids have found happiness in this club.

"I'm not saying you gotta be happy all the time, but you take your time and listen," Edward said. "You might learn something."

They're mixing a good beat with lyrics to live by.
  • Cynthia Bowers

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