Monday, October 24, 2011

Hip Hop Saves Lives: Divine Feline Recap and Save Sessions LA

Due to the economic cutbacks, many programs that are devoloped for edifying and empowering our community are in danger of disappearing. I have learned that LA government officials would approach nonprofit organizations to develop and run programs that would address current needs of communities. For example, the district of LA in which FilAm Arts works under asked FAA to start up an after school program for the youth (both Filipino and non-Filipino descent) who live area of Historic Filipinotown to sway them away from gangs, violence and drugs. Eskwela Kultura was formed and it provided a place for the youth in the area a place to go and learn through creative expression. It gained in popularity and local artists were hired to teach various art classes that range from hip hop dance, visual arts and HTML programming.

But what happens with the funding runs out and the government can no longer provide the money needed to continue these needed programs? It's not the nonprofit's fault (as many mistaken it to be) and it is the state of the economy will not change overnight.

It's when we turn to the community- parents, educators, artists, professionals, students, everyone- to band together and collectively make sure that there are outlets, venues, a safe space for the growth and empowerment of youth.

Fundraising has also developed in a more intricate manner which both parties interact more, thus strengthening the relations between the donors and the nonprofit. It isn't a hand-out they are asking for. It isn't simply just a tax-deduction that is rewared. It is the idea of paying forward; seeing the immediate payback of the donation recieve.

In my opinion, it's putting where your money is in a more conscientious and direct way. It's investing in your neighborhood and those in it.

Sessions LA
One program that needs our help is  Sessions, an afterschool program offered to innercity youth who reside in the Echo Park area of LA. Formed by my homies DJ Phatrick and Bambu , this program, which is offered free to the youth, provides that alternate option and safe space venue for kids to go to after school is let out.

SESSIONS LA is a music writing, production, recording, & DJ program for youth and young adults in Los Angeles. Our mission is to promote youth development and nurture critical thinking through unique music education programming developed by a group of experienced DJs, Producers, and Music Educators.

If you check out their Indie Go Go link, you will see that there are rewarded to each donation specified. As you can see, it's not a "handout" but a "paying forward" gesture and each dollar goes directly to this program.

What Is Sessions LA? from Sessions LA on Vimeo.

Another example of the community coming together is DIVINE FELINE LA. Headed up by Star, this annual event features an all-female lineup and proceeds go to a nonprofit. This night, that went down on October 22,  was dedicated to J.U.I.C.E, Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy, a project also dedicated to empowering, nurturing and teaching youth through the elements of hip hop. You see, Hip Hop is our inner city's sports program. While some schools have the funding to teach kids the fundamentals of competition, inner strength, comradery and sportsmanship through sports, some families don't have the means to provide their kids that same experience. This is where these programs come in.

Divine Feline was AMAZING! It was a night of dance, video, fashion, lyricism, turntabalism and art. I was able to catch the tail end of the show and was blessed to catch Earthstonez  and Miki Vale on the mic; DJ Evoke, DJ MonaLisa, Michelle Q and DJ Ledesa on the turntables.

One of the most memorable performances of the night was the main feature of the night, LadyBug Mecca of Digable Planets! She did an amazing set and at the end of the night, reminded me why I loved hip hop so much.

LadyBug Mecca

Some flicks from the night via my cellphone

Nena Soulfly with Mecca and friend.. and that scary ass clown

me with my Nena Soulflys on

Back of Miki Vale's jacket

people buying

Patchouli Nomad's mini dolls

Some of my work

homegirl amreen and i

I work in the entertainment industry so I rarely get starstruck or geek out on any body. But I have been a fan of Mecca since college and her music was part of that time where I was heavily in the scene (particularly the dance scene.) She also represented a rare true female voice in hip hop where her skill matched her intelligence, grace and beauty and she didn't have to unneedingly flaunted herself in an oversexual manner. She truly was one of my early role models in the hip hop scene who was positive and I have so much to thank her for. 

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