By COLBY DENTON
A Lee University professor is giving his adopted community something he admits it normally wouldn't expect from him, a rap song. Dr. Luis Almeida, a professor of communications at Lee, just …
A Lee University professor is giving his adopted community something he admits it normally wouldn't expect from him, a rap song.
Dr. Luis Almeida, a professor of communications at Lee, just finished his first rap song titled, "TechnoModeration."
TechnoModeration is what Almeida describes as disconnecting oneself from technology and moderating use of it, and is also the name of his regular column in the Cleveland Daily Banner.
"This all started when I was sitting in the cafeteria at Lee talking to some students, and I was approached by a man named Jose Ruiz," said Almeida.
Ruiz is Lee's assistant professor of music, and also a two-time Latin Grammy nominee.
Almeida was discussing TechnoModeration when Ruiz asked if Almeida would be willing to make a song about his cause.
"I'm no rapper," Almeida claims. "So the fact that we made this awesome rap together really amazed me."
Completing his first semester of teaching at Lee, Almeida believes that millennials are more apt to follow a cause if it is presented in a cool way, which is how rapping came into the picture.
"We are thinking of making an album, with "TechnoModeration" being the title. We also want to make a music video before spring," said Almeida.
Being featured on numerous news outlets including WPAT News, Nightique with Edward Saint Pe and countless newspapers and student-run newspapers, Almeida is often contacted for his expertise on the subject matter.
"I think that with this mass amount of technology usage, we are starting to lose a little bit of our humanity," Almeida said.
Before coming to Lee, Almeida was the chair of Jackson State University, after moving from his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He said one of the main reasons he he came to the U.S. in 1998 was to learn English and become comfortable using it in this country.
"By 2011, I had written two books, I was teaching four classes and went to four conferences that year" Almeida said. "That's how I got sick from technology.
"It felt like I had vertigo. The room was always seeming to move and I felt dizzy, like I was in a boat. All of my tests came back negative. So I then went to a different physician and she asked, 'Have you checked your ears?' When she checked my ears, sure enough, I had fluid built up in them, which threw off my balance," Almeida said. "They discovered that I had a condition called uncompensated labyrinthitis, which is dizziness that your body cannot compensate for, and it is brought on by different things for different people. For me, my cause was [overuse of] computers."
Computers are proven to aggravate this condition, and staring at computers from 7 a.m. to midnight preparing for classes did nothing positive for Almeida, he notes.
"I was having to use a golf club as a cane to steady myself! Imagine a man in his thirties walking around like an old man," Almeida added. "When you get past the point of stress and hit the level of anxiety, then you start weakening your own body — your immune system and your ability to fight infections — which is how this illness got to me."
Being somewhat skeptical of his diagnosis initially, Almeida quickly began noticing that prolonged viewing of his cellphone, computer and TV was making him feel physically ill, which he says is the moment he realized that there might be legitimacy to his diagnosis.
Due to this, Almeida has theorized a conceptual framework that states that the more a subject looks at a computer screen, the more the subject becomes like a computer; it is only through a total burnout like he experienced that a subject will begin to moderate their technology usage.
Almeida hopes he can reach a vast audience of young people through his rap and his upcoming work with TechnoModeration.
"I am actually thinking of doing a living skit throughout town where I am dressed as a huge cellphone and I jump out at people who are on their phones!" Almeida exclaims. "I have the storyboard drawn for that, so I think it would make a great awareness video."
As a professor at Lee, Almeida believes that his students and their facilities are the perfect setting for a musical message.
The rap was just released publicly for purchase this week, and Almeida has already heard his students saying how "dope" it is!
Numerous instruments from all around the world are used in the song, including bongo drums and a flute that is heard throughout the song. According to Almeida, this was meant to show that this is not just an American issue, but instead a world message about a problem that impacts everyone.
"Our goal for 'TechnoModeration' is to perform the song at churches and Christian camps all over Tennessee and the East Coast," he said.
"TechnoModeration" can now be purchased on the iTunes store, and the full album will be released in spring 2018.
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