Monday, September 9, 2013

CHURCH! Reportback on the First Edition

What do you get when you throw emcees, beatmakers, and other dope people together in an anarchist coffee shop on a Sunday? CHURCH! Hudson hit me up about a month ago asking if I'd like to host an event at Black Coffee, and I was more than happy to get down. We partnered up with my boy, the highly multi-talented Dax Anderson aka Diogenes and started masterminding the event. But Julie, you may ask, you've never hosted a regular event before, why now? Just cause, ya bish. Actually though, I am really excited about CHURCH! Because of a few reasons...

First, the space & the people: Black Coffee Coop is a unique spot nestled in the corner of Pine and Summit on Capitol Hill.  What's so different about that, you might ask? Many of the folks I know who work, hold events, and frequent Black Coffee I met in the midst of some of the most intense organizing experiences of my life during the Rise and Decolonize events of Hip Hop Occupies' genesis. The environment down there was hectic. We were confronted by bad politics, co-optation attempts, riot police, snitches, the whole nine on the regular, so the true allies that emerged on the ground with us and had our backs those days, I'm down for. Black Coffee is "a non-hierarchical structure of work and a not-for-profit model of commerce."  In creating the Black Coffee Cooperative, the individuals that currently comprise it hope to maintain a space for culture and community, free of oppression, and they are dedicated to embodying the changes we want to see in our world. Another CHURCH! partner who I met under these circumstances was Alyssa and Damian of Seattle Community Media Lab, who consistently and whole-heartedly volunteer their time, equipment, resources, and energy to anyone trying to serve the people. This includes providing sound for events and rallies, providing access to graphic design and printing technology, meeting space in the ID, and whatever else, absolutely free or on a sliding scale donation. Get at them, for real, they're here for you.

But back to some Hip Hop shit. There's a serious lack of accessible space that brings together emcees and beatmakers of all ages on a regular basis on Cap Hill (or anywhere), so we want to help fill that gap, build some community, spotlight under-recognized and/or upcoming artists, galvanize different pockets of the scene that might not be hip to each other, and of course, freestyle. Last night we featured sets from up and coming beakmaker Weasley Snipes and town OG EarDr.umz. Emcee features were J'von and veteran emcee of B-Girl Media, 206 Zulu, and Native Youth Movement Sista Hailstorm. We heard a piece from LOGOS founder, artists, emcee, and community organizer Nikkita Oliver, and we got a spur of the moment report back from a 43rd congressional district something or other that Jamil Suleman had just came back from, who told us, and I fake quote, "After asking my local official about his stance on Syria tonight at the community forum, I can confidently say that Congressman Jim McDermott is an incompotent asshat... if this guy is our 'progressive voice' in Congress, we're Fucked." No surprises there, and all the more reason to build and embrace and embody a culture of community self-determination.

Be sure to join us for the next installment of CHURCH! Sunday, October 13th 7-10pm. We'll be celebrating the birthday of our town familia DJ Zeta Barber with a live beat set, and we've confirmed Dex as one of our emcee features. We've also been toying around with an idea of a local market. You'll be bombarded with full details and dope artwork from Dax when we get the details ironed out. For now, enjoy footage of last night's cypher session below, featuring J'von, Jamil, Nikkita, Araless, & Dex w/ Diogenes & Weasley on the live beats, as well as some flicks from last night. BIG UPS to everyone that came through to support, and if you missed it, we'll see you next time. CHURCH!

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