By Kevin Gonzalez
The Hip-Hop Summit culminated a three-part series of events that raised funds to establish a first year experience scholarship for East Los Angeles College students on Saturday.
Adelante First Year Experience program held the event at the G3 auditorium. The first two events consisted of the Woke Womxn’s Conference and Pride week. The Hip-Hop summit was designed to bring awareness to the benefits that Hip-Hop can have on communities.
Vanessa Ochoa, the associate dean of student services at the Adelante FYE center, was one of the organizers of the event. Ochoa said that one of the goals for the hip-hop summit was to expose the community to the power of hip hop.
“Hip-Hop can change your life. It’s changed my life, which is why I wanted to bring that experience to the ELAC community,” said Ochoa. “I expect people to gain insight on how hip hop can help elevate them the next level.”
The event consisted of more than a dozen performers and speakers that brought all of the elements of hip-hop into one place. Hip-Hop and its influence to the fashion world were represented by BORNXRAISED clothing brand founded by SPANTO.
The connection between art and hip- hop were represented by muralist, tattoo and graffiti artist CHUBS.
The element of turntables were represented by figures like DJ Eliza May and World Famous Beat Junkies Dj Icy-ice.
Dr. David Stovall from the University of Chicago spoke about the positive effects that hip-hop has on the youth of the community and about the gentrification that plagues the community. Local talent REVERIE and many others figures in the hip-hop community were also present.
The host of the event was Tyson Amir, author of Black Boy Poems. Before the event started, Amir spoke about the need for more events like these in which the community can come together to learn about the benefits and true identity of hip-hop.
Amir said he wants the students to realize that the mainstream hip-hop played on the radio is corporate hip-hop that doesn’t truly represent what hip-hop was originally about.
“I’m excited about people having an opportunity to a deep engagement with the culture and the history of hip-hop, especially the political and revolutionary power of it so that it can serve the people instead of corporate interest,” said Amir.
The first speakers consisted of author Amir followed by Stovall. Both of these speakers spoke about the effect that real hip-hop can have on a community, the current state of hip-hop and the difference between real hip-hop and Corporate hip-hop. Amir spoke about the start of hip-hop and how African Americans created a culture to express and survive the settings they were living in.
In order to give the audience an example of what he meant, Amir compared hip-hop to the Brazilian martial arts form known as capoeira. “The slaves had to find a way to disguise a martial arts to protect themselves. They made it look like a dance so when the slave officer or overseer came around, they would think the slaves were just dancing, but in reality they were learning how to kick and defend themselves,” said Amir.
Amir also shared some of his political rhymes or “bars,” as he called them, and explained the reasons behind them. Stovall talked about how gentrification is affecting the communities and how minorities must work together to fight back.
“The ancestors taught us that if you fight, you will win, but you have to fight or else nothing is going to change,” said Stovall.
Stovall said the culture of hip-hop came from the need in young people to create and express themselves. He also said Los Angeles is going through something similar with a lot of art and recreational programs being cut from the school districts, leaving young people without a space to create.
“Here in Los Angeles they’re trying to do the same thing by taking away your art programs, moving people out and taking away quality education. Now the question is ‘what will young people do to create because you are fighting for a space to create in a world that’s trying to do something to you?’” said Stovall.
The Hip-Hop summit also consisted of a panel in which most of the hip-hop elements like art, fashion, music and politics were present. The Panel consisted of BORNXRAISED clothing brand founder SPANTO, Graffiti and Tattoo artist CHUBS, Dr. Stovall, and musical artist Melione. The panelists spoke about what inspired them to pursue their art form as a career and about the struggles that they had to overcome.
During the summit there were raffles, a silent auction, a live painting by CHUBS and a fashion show by ELAC alumna, Bethany Naranjo. Toward the end of the summit, there were performances by artists like MELIONE, KING VVIBE, X THE UV, and ELAC scholars and alumni, SHNEAKY, FREQ and ZZAY.
The main event was REVERIE, who culminated the summit with a live performance. The Hip- Hop summit had a small turn-out of students during the whole event. The majority of attendees consisted of Adelante club members and the artist’s entourage.
Throughout the summit, a recurring message was that the community must work together to make the best out of what they have. That was shown when the small audience came together to support the performers.
Artists, performers, students and faculty all gathered at the front of the stage to make the artist feel like they were performing in front of a huge audience.
“I don’t care if it’s only 20 people in here, were going to turn this place up like it’s a full auditorium,” said X THE UV one of the performers.