Hip-Hop Won't Stop at BSU
Black Male Agenda Hosts Hip Hop Week
By Kristina Rowley
Hip-hop is clearly not dead at Bowie State University. The members of Black Male Agenda hosted their first hip-hop week, something that has never been done at BSU, the week of October 26.
Members of BMA felt that hip-hop wasn't getting its due recognition in the form of formal programs at the university and created a week to pay homage and focus on different aspects of hip hop said Ameer Walton vice president of BMA. "Students love to talk about hip hop and love to participate but we never had any structured programs," he said.
The purpose of the week according to Walton was for the community to see hip- hop used for its true reason to perpetuate peace, love, unity, and positive fun. "We didn't want a boring week we wanted to be able to focus on different aspects and perspectives like how hip-hop affects politics, other countries, and its impact on our campus; all the talent we have at BSU is just lying dormant," said Walton.
The kick off to the festivities started on Monday with the hip-hop jumpoff to get everyone hyped for the rest of the events taking place during the week. Artists participating in the jumpoff created performances that corresponded with the elements, the theme of the night. MC J Rock, DJ Jah Eye Witness, and a dance crew from Philadelphia represented fire, wind, and water.
For an international perspective BMA flew in Emile Jansen from Cape Town South Africa. Jansen is a hip-hop dancer and rap artist that also runs a nonprofit organization Heal the Hood. Members of Heal the Hood use hip hop to liberate and help the youth in Africa. Jansen was inspired to create the organization after his dance group Black Noise became a positive hip-hop movement that he wanted to develop.
As part of the festivities, Jansen held a discussion with students from BSU and interacted with them in a program like the ones he holds with the children in South Africa. Everyone from the audience formed a big circle and talked about how hip-hop affects our people and performed in the middle of the circle while everyone cheered and supported them.
The next event focused on showcasing the talent of the students. BMA hosted an MC/producers battle. Chase Music and Trakkz from Howard University and Mikhail Creay a.k.a Mickey Wonderz and Brian Whitehead a.k.a B. Eazy from BSU each played beats they produced for the audience. Afterwards rappers from HU and BSU performed including BMA's vice president Ameer Walton.
Judges deliberated production winners from the screams of the crowd and the winner Chase from HU was able to play his beats during the cipher freestyle circle. Walton wants to use producers from BSU and HU in a compilation album to show off the talent of HBCU students and bring them together. "There's no reason why HBCUs shouldn't have a better relationship we need to coordinate more together; we want to work on bridging the gap," said Walton.
BMA brought the week to a close with a state of hip-hop discussion on Friday. Students talked about what they think hip-hop is, where it is going, and what students can do to take hip-hop back. An issue many shared at the discussion was the fact that hip-hop artists today don't have the creative freedom they used to. If artists want to get famous they have to follow the trends because hip-hop has become so commercialized. Many of the students felt creating a student owned record label and promoting on their own would help the state of hip hop without involving big corporations.
Walton said there has been high demand for Black Male Agenda to have a second hip-hop week next semester and they don't want to disappoint. "We want students at BSU to know that Black Male Agenda likes hip hop, and because there were no programs about it we created our own," said Walton. "As students if you don't see something going on don't sit around and wait for stuff to happen do it on your own," he said.