The film, “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest,” kicked off a weekend of community education and live entertainment sponsored by Keepers of the Art, for the 4th Annual Akron Hip-Hop Showcase. Saturday included a free conference at the Quaker Square Inn titled: “Pop Culture and the Media- Its Impact on Urban Youth and Their Communities” keynoted by hip hop legend MC Lyte.
The 4th annual AHHS weekend rewind
By JOEY POMPIGNANO
Call & Post Contributor
Twenty-year-old Dominique Perry wasn’t even born yet when hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest released their debut album, “Peoples Instinctive Travels Through the Paths of Rhythm,” in 1990. Though ATCQ’s music is somewhat before Perry’s time, after watching a documentary about the group at the Akron Civic Theatre Friday night the University of Akron freshman said he remembered his mother playing their songs around the house when he was a young child.
“I’m like, ‘oh I know that one. Oh snap I know that,’” Perry said just before reciting the chorus to "Bonita Applebum."
The film, “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest,” kicked off a weekend of community education and live entertainment sponsored by urban arts and entertainment company Keepers of the Art, for the 4th Annual Akron Hip-Hop Showcase. Saturday included a free conference at the Quaker Square Inn titled: “Pop Culture and the Media- Its Impact on Urban Youth and Their Communities.”
Inspired by ATCQ’s documentary, Perry’s “instinctive travels” continued Saturday morning. He rushed out of psychology class to partake in a conference that included keynote speaker and hip-hop pioneer MC Lyte (Lana Michelle Moorer), along with guest speakers Brian Heat, Gabriel Benn and the University of Akron’s own Dr. John Queener.
Heat, a Washington D.C. professional educator, conducted a presentation on redefining style and excellence for urban youth.
“Don’t chase dreams. Catch dreams,” Heat said. “When you get that rush feeling then you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, never let it go.”
Heat outlined considerations for a revamped definition of “swagger,” a term associated with how a person confidently carries himself. He said one should discover personal truth (beliefs, values, dreams, desires), personal passion and obtain obsessive work ethic.
Engaged by each word Heat spoke, Perry continued to jot down notes on paper during Benn’s presentation.
Benn, also an educator in D.C., founded the Hip-Hop Educational Literacy Program (H.E.L.P.). His “hip-hop lesson plan” incorporates rap songs in his students’ curriculum. For example, the song New World Water by hip-hop artist Mos Def has been used in Earth Science classes to teach students the importance of preserving our natural resources. Benn said that in a system where 7,000 students drop-out every day, it’s time for a non-traditional approach to education.
During a Q&A session with MC Lyte, Perry raised his hand, stood up from his seat and introduced himself in front of the 50-person audience. He described to MC Lyte what his goals and aspirations are in the field of journalism. Gripping his folder with both hands while shaking a bit, he told the hip-hop icon that he wants to be well-rounded in all forms of media.
“All while you were in school, how was your journey with juggling which path you wanted?” Perry asked.
“I just knew that if I saw this dream and I played it out in my head just the way I wanted it to be, the end result is God would lead me through and have me right where He needed me to be to deliver the message I so desperately felt that I needed to get out to the people.” MC Lyte said in response to Perry’s question.
She also had three words of advice for the man she said was giving off a “spirit” in the room: “Do it all,” was her message.
For the communications major, “do it all” means radio, TV and newspapers.
“I left there feeling motivated and encouraged to keep striving,” Perry said.
MC Lyte later performed her more famous words in the form of rap songs at Lock 3 to close out the 4th annual Akron Hip-Hop Showcase to a crowd of nearly 10,000 fans. Look for the Keepers Lounge 2011-2012 series to kick off Nov. 5 at E.J. Thomas Hall with Amel Larrieux.