Bridging Hip-Hop and Cultural Events to Kids
Project: TruSchool Hip-Hop
Recipient: Sixth Street Dance Studio/Whole Project
Miami’s Sixth Street Dance Studio’s TruSchool is a free hip-hop program for grade-school kids in Little Havana and Overtown dedicated to the original elements of hip-hop.
“Peace, love and unity, those are the basic elements of hip-hop,” says Brigid Baker, the studio’s director and choreographer or, as her students call her, Queen B.
The perception that hip-hop has moved away from these elements can be attributed to a marketplace that favors depictions of bling culture and derogatory depictions of women in some of the more popular rap hits. But this isn’t the heart of hip-hop, she says.
“Corporatism co-opting and the monetization of our world,” Baker says. “Hip-hop is an incredible American art form, a healing protocol that grew from the South Bronx out of artists — these visionaries — who discovered a way to stop gang violence through movement and dance. [Break-beat DJ] Afrika Bambaataa started the peace, love and unity original tenets of hip-hop.”
Baker hopes to achieve the same in Miami with these principles and to partner with the Uganda Project, a grass roots organization that uses social media, art and public forums to mentor and bolster the youth community. (See www.ugandaproject.com)
The $40,000 in Challenge funding will help the nonprofit Little Havana dance space buy turntables, paint for graffiti, musical equipment and to find DJs and emcees to incorporate house dance and lindy hop into the programming, along with the addition of writing and other cultural events.
“We’re changing perceptions by correcting and allowing [hip-hop] to grow into its full octave,” Baker says.
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