Hip hop culture began as an isolated form of expression by young artists in New York City’s impoverished South Bronx in the mid 1970s. With roots in African and Latin rhythms as well as modern artforms such as jazz, soul, reggae, funk, and blues music blended with the unique experience of community development in America’s marginalized neighborhoods, a movment began almost 40 years ago that has come to unify young people around the world. November is recognized worldwide as Hip Hop History Month.
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Universal Zulu Nation, Hip Hop’s first community based social organization. Locally, from food drives and beach clean-ups to mentorship programs and educational workshops across the islands, Zulu Nation Hawaii has been carrying on the work which began in New York in 1973.
On Saturday, Nov. 23, ZNH with Hilo’s Red Space on Mamo Corner and other local businesses, will be hosting an all-ages, drug- and violence-free celebration of the culture and history of hip hop from noon to 6 p.m. on the corner of Kilauea and Mamo streets in downtown Hilo.
The event will showcase the rich diversity of local artists with musical performances, DJ scratch exhibitions, music production demonstrations, and a b-boy/b-girl (breakdance) competition. The Red Space will also host an art installment of Hip Hop paintings and historical artifacts currated by prominent Big Island visual artist, Dena Nakahashi. The gallery installment will premier Friday, Nov. 22, from 6-9 p.m. and continue through the weekend.