Entertainment attorney Helen McCrary Salahuddin founded the organization called the d’Zert Club in Philadelphia, PA in 1992. With the help of retired international entrepreneur and husband, Philip A. Salahuddin, and “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes, an internationally known recording artist and actor serving as the organization’s spokesperson, she turned the d’Zert Club into the world’s largest and fastest growing African-American youth organization of its kind. Boasting over 25,000 members, the d’Zert Club’s motto is “it is better to build a child than repair an adult”.
The d’Zert Club specialized in producing positive entertainment and cultural events for elementary, middle and high school students. Activities produced for young people by the d’Zert Club have included birthday and graduation parties, talent showcases, and benefit concerts featuring nationally known recording artists such as LL Cool J, Dougie Fresh and D.J. Cool. In addition the d’Zert Club produced yearly cultural events celebrating Kwanzaa, Juneteenth and Black Music Month, a quarterly newsletter, political education forums and cultural field trips. The d’Zert Club turned the educational program over to The African Genesis Corrective History Institute in 2003.
The d’Zert Club now specializes in producing cultural trips for adults and children to places of interest to African Americans for the purpose of studying the peoples, culture and history of the descendants of enslaved African people dispersed throughout the Diaspora. Trips are continuously planned to places in Africa, Central and South America and Europe.
The mission of the corrective history program is to provide African-American youth with a correct historical perspective of their roots and culture thus enabling them to assume their predestined role as leaders in the 21st century. With recent reports documenting the rise in violence, drug abuse and pregnancy among African-American teen-agers, and statistics showing that African-American males between the ages of 13 and 15 are being identified as the new predators and major perpetrators of crime in America, this program and annual sojourn to the motherland is intended to be a foundational stone in the character building process of our young people.
The African Genesis Corrective History Institute has testimony from parents, teachers, group leaders and other adults who interact with students who graduate from the program, and from the students themselves, that the curriculum and sojourn has had a profound positive effect on the students. Also, students’ academic proficiency and scores on standardized tests have increased, absences from school, lateness and incidences of disruptive behavior have decreased and their respect for their elders has taken a dramatic turn for the better.