Now that I’ve had a couple of days to settle back in after my vacation, I can finally tell you about this awesome event I went to a few weeks back (yes, yes, I’ve been slacking). The youth and community forum was hosted by Windows of Hip Hop , an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the core principles of hip hop culture and expanding the public’s perception of hip hop’s reach into areas such as history, economics, and community. This second forum focused on hip hop and its relationship to youth and community. Featuring special guest Melle Mel Walter Hidalgo, Chief 69 (who you might remember was featured in The Spotlight a couple of months ago), Kayo Chingonyi, and NeNe Ali performed and spoke to the powerful unifying impact hip hop can have.
Walter Hidalgo led a rhyme line – an activity where everyone gets in a circle a claps to keep the rhythm going no matter what – and had everyone introducing themselves and rhyming together. He spoke of hip hop’s ability to help formulate one’s identity and as a vehicle of communication, acting as a mirror to society. A really cool perspective that Walter brought to the forum was his background in researching the connection between hip hop and spirituality.
Chief 69 performed some b-boy dance moves and displayed his biting lyrical skills for the crowd. In order to really get the full experience, you have to see Chief in action. Everything from his style to his artistic work is reminiscent of those golden days of hip hop – when nothing was frivolous or superfluous, it was fun, but it had meaning, too.
Poet and playwright Kayo Charles blew us all away with his powerful poetry. When he speaks, you cannot pay attention to anything else. His delivery is really that captivating . I can’t even add much else to this description, because in this case, you’ll have to see the video to get a feel for what I’m talking about. Hop on over to my Youtube channel in the next few days to check out his performance as well as the other performers.
Last, but definitely not least, was the poignant NeNe Ali. A spoken word artists that demonstrates ” rap with a conscience,” NeNe is the feminist voice, recent hip hop has been lacking. In a way, she reminds me of Queen Latifah circa “U.N.I.T.Y.”
Remember, this was only the SECOND Windows of Hip Hop forum, stay tuned for updates on the next one.