The next Hip-Hop generation will be solar powered
The first organized Hip-Hop concert to utilize solar energy took place in Atlanta this June 30th 2007 against the backdrop of the premiere United States Social Forum where an estimated 15,000 people converged to chart a progressive course for America’s future. The participants comprised of both social activists and social entrepreneurs from all over the nation representing a diversity of social backgrounds.
The concert organized by an emerging coalition Hip-Hop Sustains crystallized the growing environmental consciousness amongst the Hip-Hop generation (ages ranging from 15-40) concerning issues such as global warming and developing a sustainable world. Concert organizers connected these issues to the serious crisis of unemployment and incarceration in urban centers especially amongst Black and Latino working class communities.
“For far too long, incarceration rates in communities of color have been driven by poverty and unemployment as industrial capitalism has arrived at the limits of its growth,” said Vanessa Nisperos, concert organizer and Hip-Hop Sustains member. “The world climate crisis provides poor and working class communities with a historic opportunity to develop new sustainable community-based economies.”
Musical talents MC’s Rebel Diaz, Ishues, Grime, Julian B, Kahlil Almustafa, Readnex Poetry Squad, the Foundation Movement, DJ Chela and DJ Oja provided the backbone of the concert itself. Many of the artists are committed cultural activists providing their artistic services pro bono or working as community educators. The concert also fulfilled the need to demonstrate concrete steps towards utilizing renewable energies for the urban performers moving beyond political rhetoric.
DJ Chela, a leading female mixtape DJ whose turntables were solar powered commented, “the Solar Hip-Hop Concert made a huge statement symbolically and concretely; as the U.S. government entangles with foreign powers to secure energy sources, young Hip-Hop artists and activists in the U.S. harnessed the power of the sun to fuel our resistance and expression.”
“This concert reflected the essence of Hip-Hop which continuously pushes to seek a power beyond government, nation, cultural tradition, ideology, religion and race to receive true credibility,” said Kahlil Almustafa, award winning spoken word poet and cultural activist. He concluded that the solar concert “was a powerful moment that marks the evolution of a Hip-Hop generation that chooses to grow up regardless of whether or not America chooses the same.”
The Solar Concert organizers are using the first U.S. Social Forum to build new ties and alliances in order to duplicate their efforts throughout the country with community based organizations – especially in urban settings. Expanding on this point Chong Kim, an organizer with Hip-Hop Sustains believes in designing basic projects that low income people can utilize to bridge the green divide. “Most poor and working people don’t have the finances to afford solar panels or even a home, but they can get involved in affordable efforts such as home composting and urban permaculture to building food co-ops which turns the liability of poor and working people into a sustainable advantage.” He added, “We believe that Hip-Hop Sustains can prove to be an innovative project that can spread an eco-friendly message to working class audiences in order to address the green divide.”
Supporting organizations included Soul Survivors, Hip-Hop Media Lab, 5th Element, Project South, MyBloc.net, National Hip-Hop Political Convention and Design Studio.
Hip-Hop fusion culture has defined a generation and has developed into a phenomenal cultural medium of choice in working communities throughout the U.S. and the world. Hip-Hop Sustains is a new Coalition to bridge the “green divide”, raising awareness about global warming and sustainable development with Hip-Hop organizations that are rooted in working class communities.
Soul Survivors‘ mission is to combat the nexus of poverty and environmental degradation by providing the unemployed with multi-media education towards the development of sustainable ventures. Soul Survivors is initiating Hip-Hop Sustains to bridge the “green divide”, raising awareness about global warming and sustainable development with Hip-Hop organizations that are rooted in working class communities.
Find out more here