Tuesday, May 26, 2009
DanceInfused Dance Fever
story, video and photos by Jocelyn M. Goode
What happens when dance and art commingle in a warm 6,000 square foot loft atop of Soho? Hot, creative energy called DanceInfused. Friday, May 22nd marked the beginning of a four-part series produced by the New York City art collective, Noble Technique held at Die Fabrik. In this first interactive event, painters and sculptors displayed art interspersed between action photography of young, up-n-coming dancers. The evening culminated in live performances by the Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory, the Dario Vicarro Dance Project, Roela LaMazing and others.
Each group effused their own emotion and distinct style that splashed onto crowds standing steps away from the improvised stage. The Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory performed a dance sequence entitled "Ghetto Pop Life" which was a mixture of Hip-Hop, drama and funky interpretations of Breakdance. The Dario Vicarro Dance Projects presented a beautiful, modern dance duet, wrapping around, lifting and painting each others semi-nude bodies. Masked breakers performed a mysterious piece, raising questions of identity and existence through dramatic outbreaks of Pop-n-Lock-inspired movements. Roela LaMazing and her group finished off the set sporting fishnet nylons, fitted boy shorts and sexy brassieres. Their choreography was bold, sensual and dominating. The audience sirened their cheers in approval after the dancers completed their presentations.
Guests of the place included legendary painter and designer Concep, female MC TK-Wonder and Sandra Amarie, the hand-made tea specialist who served gingerbeer iced tea cocktails to the pulsating crowd.
Noble Technique has three other events to follow DanceInfused which pay tribute to body artists, sneaker art, and skate culture-inspired fashion. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
E-40 and Keak Da Sneak at the BARS Award in 2006
A Blazing Contradiction: Breaking Down the Bay Area's Hyphy Rap Movement
Photos and commentary by Jocelyn M. Goode
The Bay Area, California is one of the most paradoxical places in this country because therein grows the rawest elements of unbounded, creative force that is simultaneously self-destructive. Turfs in East Oakland, Bayview-Hunter's Point, Vallejo, Fillmore, West Oakland, East Palo Alto, North Oakland, Menlo Park and the Murder Dubbs birth abraded yet virile style and trends. In these terrains of jagged beauty, music and culture blur, breeding intoxicating beats accompanied by poisoned mentalities and addictive habits. The magnetism of primordial vibrations mixed with chants of inherited self-hate produce Hyphy music, an illicit phenomenon of resistance and deterioration.
The youngest generation presently experiencing a Hip-Hop rites of passage rapidly consumes fatal dosages of rap music, searching for meaning, direction and reality in a world where fear and destruction reign. The result is most reflected by the rampant violence, abuse and ignorance of young people, aged ten to twenty-five. So the question stands, what will it take to solve a cultural pandemic?
Breaking down the Hyphy Movement in the Bay Area rap scene involves investigating the artists, their messages and the response. To begin, there are macks-and players, preachers, pimps, poets, prophets, the ones that produce the powerful messages. The rappers are the seeds fallen from the Black Power Movement and the Crack Epidemic. Their lyrics tell tales over hypnotic beats about goin' dumb while on one, poppin' pills and stuntin', ghostriding the whip after runnin' rippers, scrapin', dippin', and parking lot pimpin'. Essentially they advocate performing a series of abasing acts with the utmost enthusiasm and pride. Yet, the lure is in the delivery. The enticing rhythms and swagnasty attitudes are so seductive that even the most conscious-minded must sample only small amounts.
Too $hort and Mac Dre stand as godfathers of the Hyphy Movement. In the '90s and early in 2000's, their enchanting spells of degrading women and celebrating drug abuse fertilized the metaphorical soil for poisonous crops to grow. Radio and video waves then resonated this type of rap across the world. In the Bay Area, it translated into drinking of the hardest alcohol, taking excessive amounts of ecstasy, smoking potent marijuana and going completely out-of-control.
Hyphy culture now runs strong in the veins of its young intoxicants, growing up in neighborhoods where living is a daily life-or-death battle. Deprived of functioning schools and whole food grocery stores, kids, teenagers, and young adults receive their nourishment from Hyphy artists. These people teach the codes of conduct and misconduct. Today the roster of Bay Area rappers includes Keak Da Sneak, San Quinn, E-40, Mistah F.A.B., The Jacka, Beeda Weeda, J-Stalin, The Husaleh, FIllmore Big Rich, Messy Marv, Dem Hoodstars, Yukmouth, The Pack, Mahasan and Ray Ryda. Hit songs like "Tell Me When To Go" and "Super-Hyphy" placed a national spotlight on the Hyphy Movement, which had previously remained contained to Bay Area hoods. As fascinating as the tunes were, they reflected a theme common in Northern California rap music: praise to pimpin' druggin' and tearing shit up!
Yet there is another side to the Hyphy Movement. Over the past five years, Hyphy rappers have organized amongst themselves and on their blocks to stand up for community concerns. In 2005, a record amount of Bay Area artists came together successfully for a relief concert in benefit of Hurricane Katrina survivors. In response to the alarming rate that police murder Black men, rappers summoned Hyphy beats to spread messages calling for everything between justice and retribution. Beeda Weeda's song "Fuck Tha Police, We Aint Listening" is a war cry that bumped throughout the corners of Oakland after OPD murdered Oscar Grant III on January 1, 2009. The people rebelled three times in the subsequent months after the public execution, burning and breaking property in passionate anger.
The influential power of Bay Area rappers and the culture their music engenders is a testimony to Hip-Hop at its essence. The beats and lyrics from the country's most disenfranchised and exploited possess the fortitude to mobilize the world at its soul. And so we await a cultural awakening that will shake the curse of self-destructive, freeing the minds of all infected so that they may pursue a path of progress and enlightenment.
The following photos are from the BARS Awards held in 2006.
Messy Marv-"Playin' Wit My Nose"
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Story and photo by Jocelyn M. Goode
FAIM Internet Magazine has officially expanded, with a new headquarters in New York City. For those readers just coming on board, FAIM stands for Fashion Art Interactivity Movement. We are cultural publication that caters to educated, professionals of color, creative entrepreneurs and independent thinkers who crave for culture and ideas outside of the mainstream. FAIM marries Bay Area and New York trends and styles, producing a beautiful bi-coastal love child.
We are back on a regular schedule so look out for new articles and events in the areas of fashion, art, community, and politics. Your feedback is valued so please feel free to submit your comments and make topic suggestions.