Windows of Hip Hop: Youth & Community

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.

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The Spotlight: Chief 69

This month’s Spotlight is on Renaissance man, Nelson “Chief 69 Seda: 

Chief 69

You were born in Brooklyn, what brought you to the Bronx? What neighborhood do you represent? :
I was Born in Brooklyn yes, then moved around from Fl. back to NYC and as a young child moved all over from the Bronx , Harlem , Lower East Side , and then ended up back in the boogie down Bronx. I like to say I don’t just represent one neighborhood of the Bronx but I am from the Fort apache area..I consider myself a beacon of light to all of the greater South Bronx being I am  in many ways a product of the environment as a whole.
You wear a lot of hats – emcee, bboy, graffiti artist- how do these roles complement each other? Do they all serve as different ways of promoting a similar message or theme? 

I practice most of the HIP HOP elements mainly because of my knack to envelop myself truly into things I am drawn to , also in many ways the elements in my eyes at least have no real separation , you see when I do writing or graffiti it is comparable to the dynamic feats of the Dance I do , When I emcee it is the same poetic flow I place into the creation of Burners on a wall or in a blackbook. In many ways being I am in different circles I get to have different ways to stay inspired I realize people who only Emcee or only do Graffiti can easily become bored with HIP HOP because they are mentally so boxed in and don’t have a much broad perspective on what is really beneath the surface.I try to have all my work on a basic level to be straightforward for the most part in addressing social ills and bringing forth substance and clarity to a misrepresented , diluted Culture…I like to think my work is a tool of reminding my audience of what HIP HOP not only was because I don’t live in the past but what HIP HOP truly IS…

What are your top three favorite places in the Bronx?

My top 3 favorite places in the Bronx in no particular order are…

  •  MY HOUSE – I like to be home around my work and in my creative space.
  • Crotona Park – in the summertime I love to attend the events to hear good music and rock out , meet a  child and show them REAL skills It brings me a lot of joy to teach kids and make new friends in the park jams …this has always been a common denominator in many peoples lives who are involved in HIP  HOP
  • My neighborhood and really all of the Bronx around me because I feel the people have a specific walk , talk and demeanor about them that I find comforting , I feel at home here and when I go downtown or travel out of NYC I miss The Bronx , there is NO PLACE LIKE IT
Are there any upcoming projects you’re working on now that we should look out for?

Well, I have a lot in the works …still working on my Album project  “Knowledge of Self” , which had some setbacks due to my crazy agenda , I am also planning on doing a lot more work in the South Bronx along the lines of Community Murals , Youth Programming , Showcases and Performances and creating opportunities for my friends and HIP HOP family around me so we can all prosper and get QUALITY HIP HOP out there.

…BIG UPs go to all my crews , TBB,UZN,FRC,SSB,WOTS,MW…… I would also like to note my inspirations on a last acknowledgment that my work would be Impossible if not for a few KEY individuals below:

– Rock Steady Crew – all members past and present gave me the foresight to what I could manifest.
– James Brown – keeps me FUNKY.
– Bruce Lee – keeps me focused.
– EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM OF USA. – even with its many faults the teachers and students created the person I am today… THANK YOU….