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Hip Hop Congress

Hip Hop Congress is an organization that exists to make platforms available for the Hip Hop culture to engage and create change on multiple levels. Above is a photo of Shamako Noble, co-founder of Hip Hop Congress. As one can take from viewing this photo, Shamako does a lot more than rap and battle. He’s attended US Social Forums, marched on the streets of St. Paul, wrote for H20: The Hip Hop Observer, and lead movement assemblies across the country. Some of the inspiration for this project came from my involvement with the Evergreen State College Hip Hop Congress, including taking part in the What the Bleep Happened to Hip Hop events that were hosted by HHC and Move To Amend. Through that event I was able to witness firsthand the coming together of the Hip Hop community and others to discuss corporate exploitation of cultures and how to fight back against those forces, while bringing music and art into the equation as well. The HHC website chronicled the events here: What the Bleep Happened to Hip Hop 

I would like to share the Hip Hop Congress mission statement as it is a great explanation of what HHC is all about. (http://www.hiphopcongress.com/mission)

“The Hip Hop Congress is a 501 (c) 3 Non Profit Corporation. The Hip Hop Congress provides the Hip Hop Generation and the Post Hip Hop Generation with the tools, resources and opportunities to make social, economic and political change on a local, regional and national level. Hip Hop Congress is the product of a merger of artists and students, music and community. It achieves this mission in a variety of ways.

Its Chapter Program develops chapters in universities, high schools and communities. Hip Hop Congress currently has over 30 chapters.Hip Hop Congress chapters engage in a range of activity promoting hip hop culture on their campus or in their community. Hip Hop Congress chapters produce or sponsor hundreds of events a year focusing on hip hop history and culture, as well as the social and political issues hip hop addresses. Events sponsored include panels, speeches, element exhibitions/battles (emcee/bboy/dj/graffiti), awareness festivals, screenings, etc.

Its Artist Program is designed to help artists pool resources, sell music and take advantage of all the opportunities the music industry has to offer without giving away the rights to their works in return. It strives to create an international web of resources and contacts for its artist members. The network is run via regional delegates and a national oversight committee. Some Hip Hop Congress artists include Shamako Noble, The Procussions, DLabrie, Rahman Jamaal, Aloe Blacc from Emanon, La Boussole (Le Havre, France), the Bedouin, and Jacka and Husalah of the Mob Figaz.

As many services within the educational system become privatized, more and more institutions are looking to independent contractors and consultants for program design and execution. In addition, the application and addition of Urban Arts into the education system through youth centers, events and generational shifts is becoming all the more common. Hip Hop Congress, as a national and international organization that is dedicated to its mission, is constantly looking to develop and work with those developing experimental and pedagogically proven methods of using Hip Hop as a positive motivational and academic tool. That’s why HHC has picked upEducation as an initiative and centralization point for its artists, chapters, partners, and donors.

Its Online Program manages this website and fosters collaboration with like-minded websites. The website helps to connect chapters, artists, and any other person working for the Hip Hop Congress. It comments upon the state of the world today and encourages members to share their opinion. With over 10,000 hits a day, it is the face of Hip Hop Congress that most people in the world know best.

Hip Hop Congress leadership is comprised of artists, educators, activists, and community leaders. As an active think tank,  Hip Hop Congress leadership is constantly developing progressive initiatives to foster inspiration and action in local communities. The leadershipalso develops strategic partnerships with other organizations throughout the country to promote and engage in social action, civic service, and cultural creativity.

Hip Hop Congress‘ mirror organization, Hip Hop Congress Europe, networks with organizations in France, Africa, England, Belgium and the Czech Republic with the intention of creating after school programs and sharing projects created in these schools in a pen pal-type relationship through the use of technology such as Web TV. Hip Hop Congress Europe is based in Paris, France.

Hip Hop Congress has also been fortunate enough to receive the pro-bono legal services of Manatt Phelps & Phillips, LLP, one of the nation’s premiere law firms.

Hip Hop Congress‘ goals are to continue to build these programs while devising creative ways for the three to interact, always keeping its mission statement in mind.”

If you peruse the HHC website you can read blogs written by Shamako and others, you can learn about not only their past work but upcoming events as well, you can learn what it takes to start a chapter, and you can tap into a collection of artists through the Artist Program. http://www.hiphopcongress.com/ 

From participating in the annual US Social Forums to creating a platform for local artists to share their work, from working with political organizations such as Move To Amend (an organization that rejects the ruling of Citizens V United, thus rejecting the idea that money speaks as loudly as humans do) to global networking through the Afrikan Hip Hop Caravan, Hip Hop Congress has become an example of how the increased ability to connect can amplify the volume of those who feel like change is impossible. Through utilizing multiple “fronts”, this organization has shown me how Hip Hop can truly become a platform for revolution. 

 

Shamako Noble

Raz Simone (worked with us in Seattle @ What the Bleep Happened to Hip Hop)

Mic Crenshaw