Monday, February 23, 2009

A Day in the Life of Hip Hop Congress West Coast: 4 States, 2 Capitols, 1 Movement


A Day in the Life of Hip Hop Congress West Coast: 4 States 1 Day

Brandon Green, National Contact, HHC Chief Technology Officer
(702) 606-3068
DLabrie, California Contact, HHC National Outreach Coordinator
(501) 798-9610
Julie Chang Schulman, Northwest Contact, HHC Northwest Regional Coordinator
(425) 223-7787

February 23rd, 2009

This week was a historical one for Hip Hop. Fresh off the very successful 5th Annual Hip Hop Congress Midwest Summit, which featured Little Brother at The University of Michigan Feb 6-7, and the tremendously attended 206 Zulu 5th Anniversary and Hip Hop Film Festival in Seattle, Hip Hop Congress (HHC) presented "A Day in the Life of HHC West Coast" with cultural and political activity in four states in one day including Washington, California, Oregon, and Nevada. Hip Hop Congress is confronting problems and creating solutions all while communicating in real time via blogs, email, text message and social networking sites. This is the 1st of many HHC online campaigns to come.

Early in the AM, HHC was active in the Oscar Grant rally which took place at the California Capitol Building in Sacramento which was organized as a 5 city bus caravan and included participants from various Norcal cities including Oakland, San Franciso, Richmond, East Palo Alto, and Stockton, CA. Some of the buses were sponsored by San Francisco Businessman/Rapper, JT The Bigga Figga as well as others. The Oscar Grant rally was supported by, UC Davis HHC College Chapter, Sacramento HHC Community Chapter, with members Wes Kuruhara (Chapter Head of Sacramento HHC Chapter and co-founder of San Jose State HHC College Chapter) , Sacramento Rap Crew Righteous Movement, Wyzdom of Verbal Venom & Sac Promoter Lord Vex also Gold Toes of Thizz Entertainment, Rudy Fleetwood rapper/author/ president of The United Players, Ministers Chris Muhammad and Keith Muhammad from the NOI, youth from the Muhammad University of Islam. Extended list of attendees will be available on our website. Information was coordinated by President of RonDavoux Records/National Outreach Director of HHC, DLabrie, whose album; "MR. NETW3RK" is due for release in 2009. “I asked various activists what can HHC do to help the cause without reinventing the wheel. The response I got was to help spread information to the streets, in the hood, at the colleges, and to youth through art and events. This is our strong point. We are planning a series of music compilations to inform the community about the Oscar Grant murder and speak out against Police Brutality through the voices of artists from all over the world,” says DLabrie

12 hours North, in Seattle, Washington, M1 of the legendary political rap group dead prez, who recently became the Education Coordinator for HHC along with Midwest Hip Hop Icon One Be Lo were picked up by sponsors ( The caravan stopped through for a tour of the Umoja P.E.A.C.E. Center (UPC) which is being developed as a community-owned Hip Hop youth center in Seattle’s Central District (CD). They were welcomed by Unite for Youth Coalition members, Seattle Rap Crew Alpha P/206 Zulu members Asun, Jerm, and Julie C, Basement TV’s Jamil and DJ Kuhnex, mother and daughter media team Maria and Imani Kang, poet Geneiva Arunga of the UPC Seattle Hip-Hop Youth Council and UPC co-founders Wyking Allah, Savior Knowledge, and Omari Tahir. Seattle youth violence is reaching critical levels, police presence is historically at its highest, public housing is being torn down, the district is shutting down schools, and money to tackle the problems are being put in the hands of poverty pimps. UPC and its vision are critical to the community reclaiming power and reasserting self-determination. “It’s good to see a center by us for us right in the hood, it’s a lot of potential in this. I’m excited to see it develop. It shows solidarity amongst many individuals and organization out here on the west, I want to take this energy back home and on the road,” stated One Be Lo. For more information on how to support UPC visit

The collective then traveled to Olympia, Washington, where in 2008, Dead Prez Valentine’s Day concert attendees left a police car overturned and riot squad dispatch. One year later, M-1 was welcomed back to the Evergreen State College for a lecture and dialogue with the campus community. Tremendous efforts were made on the part of Evergreen HHC leaders and others to make this event happen. He opened his speech talking about the role of slavery in America’s system of capitalism, the country’s policy of population control, and how his personal history of community work in St. Petersberg, Florida and New York informed his understanding of activism and organizing. Turning to the role of Hip Hop in movement work, he broke down the difference between uprisings and rebellions, and emphasized that, “Revolution is an art and science. We have to be perfect.” He wrapped up the lecture by stating, “I’ve organized amongst my fellow Afrikans, the white left, we all have a place on this field, all have a role to play. Our objective is to raise the interest and agenda of the working class. Use what you have to do it. In moving forward, that’s why I’ve accepted being national spokesperson for Hip Hop Congress, to support local voices. I want to help build a social tool we can use as a weapon to defend our people’s rights.” A full write-up on the lecture and Q & A can be found on our website.

To end the days Northwest activity, HHC members traveled with One Be Lo to Portland for his performance at Berbatis Pan and linked with Vocalist/Emcee/Poet, Toni Hill of the popular group Siren’s Echo, whose new album “Only Love” will be released March 13th, and HHC Artist/founder of Global Fam, Portland HHC Community Chapter Head Mic Crenshaw who recently released his album "Thinking Out Loud.” The following day, Crenshaw hosted an HHC meeting at his home to talk about current struggles, strategies, challenges, next steps, and planning for the upcoming 2009 Hip Hop Congress National Conference. “It’s critical that we keep the momentum going,” says HHC Northwest Regional Coordinator Julie C, “Now we got the campus, the real community activists, the Hip Hop educators, Universal Zulu Nation, and an incredible network of individuals, artists, and collectives on the ground. Consistent connection, communication, and coordination is all we need to make history and some real changes this summer.” You can catch Julie C’s music in the new “Knox Family E.P” from B-Girl Media.

All of this and more was covered in real time via myspace, twitter, facebook, text and email. We invited all to participate and join us in celebrating our collective power and vision by taking a stand for our community and our families, and celebrating the art and artists that bring us together. The process of keeping things organized and connected online was headed by Pro-Dash: Filmmaker, Emcee, Producer and Creator of HHC TV on you tube. Pro-Dash is currently involved with the Stop The F Street Closure Coalition. “They are creating walls between the hood and the new project which will attract tourist but keep us Vegas natives out,” states Pro-Dash. While updating HHC online info Pro-Dash spent Thursday drafting a letter to National community organizations calling for support for an organized “National Demonstration March and Sit In” on the Las Vegas Strip. The march is scheduled for April 18, 2009, which is also the weekend of the National Broadcasters Association Convention. “We feel it’s important for the West Las Vegas community and oppressed communities across the globe to stand up and be heard for economic and social justice” says Pro Dash whose song “Fresh up out the West” tackles issues in West Las Vegas.

Hip Hop Congress is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit whose mission is provide the tools, resources, and opportunities for the Hip Hop Generation to make an impact on our collective communities. Our 8th National Conference will be held in Seattle, Washington from July 29th to August 1st at the University of Washington. The theme of the conference is "This is Our Time". There will be no panels. We have partnered with Dope Emporium, Seattle's Only Hip Hop Festival, Umojafest (Seattle’s longest running African American heritage festival), Universal Zulu Nation, The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, Iron Fist Records, Hidmo, B-Girl Media, the Seattle Youth Council, Rock Rap Entertainment, the Coalition to Protect Public Housing, Rapsessions, the Mississippi Artists and Producers Coalition, Culture Shock Camp, Umojafest P.E.A.C.E. Center, Seattle Hip Hop Youth Council, Block Teamsters Union and others to bring a conference that is about creating, and supporting leadership as well as holding leadership accountable and being accountable to ourselves. We invite ALL our chapters, artists, partners, friends and all community members to attend this historical event.

"We believe that the youth have questions that we need to answer, that artists have struggles and deserve our support, and that the community can resolve its own problems better than today's politicians and law enforcement officials acknowledge. It is time to stop talking and start doing." stated by San Jose Emcee & Co-Founder and President of Hip Hop Congress - Shamako Noble

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