40 Years and a mic: what is the future of hip hop?

“Hip hop is the streets’ alternative to disco. Hip hop was a grassroots, streets came from—it came from desperation. Hip hop came from people’s basic need for an outlet. We were either going to start hip hop or start a revolution.” – Grandmaster Caz (From the film, “Mambo to Hip Hop”) What is the future of hip hop? Hip hop is currently at an exciting and pivotal time. Continue Reading

Young artists find magic in North Minneapolis

The magic of picture taking is the ability to tell people how beautiful they are through a photograph. This was the take-away message from Jamel Shabazz’s talk at Juxtaposition Arts this past Thursday. Jamel Shabazz is a photographer, lecturer and teacher of the visual arts from Brooklyn. This artist talk and reception was held in honor of the work of youth artists at Juxtaposition Arts as well as a part of One Minneapolis One Read, which invites residents in Minneapolis to partake in a city-wide read. This year’s book is A Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks.During Shabazz’s weeklong residency working with six youth artists, students’ photographs focused on the communities we live in and aimed to create prideful visual documents representing the beauty of these communities. Continue Reading

Juxtaposition Arts, One Minneapolis One Read feature work of iconic black artist Gordon Parks and Brooklyn photographer Jamel Shabazz

Renowned international photographer Jamel Shabazz hosted an intergenerational, street photography workshop in the Twin Cities last week as part of the third annual community conversation for One Minneapolis One Read. This year, the citywide read teamed up with Juxtaposition Arts to host a residency with the Brooklyn photographer, lecturer and teacher of the visual arts.Every year, the community read program selects a book and hosts a community conversation to encourage citywide reading in Minneapolis. The book this year is A Choice of Weapons, written by the late Gordon Parks, an African American photographer, artist, filmmaker and writer. Parks is most known for his photography for Life magazine, and as director of the iconic 1970s film, Shaft.The crowd was fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to Robin P. Hickman, the great-niece of Parks, who spoke about his legacy and beyond, as well as his experience moving to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1928 at the age of 16, after his mother passed away.According to the One Minneapolis One Read website,  Parks’ autobiography tells how he “managed to escape the poverty and bigotry around him, and launch his distinguished career, by choosing the weapons given him by ‘a mother who placed love, dignity, and hard work over hatred’.”Hickman’s presentation was empowering, and it is clear Parks was an inspirational man. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | #HoodiesUpMN rally inspires hope for our communities

On Sunday, a group of community organizers and citizens met at Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) after the jury had read the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial.We had three main goals to discuss at the meeting: (1) What was the message we wanted to send out, (2) Who did we want to target with this message, and (3) What was the narrative going to be. During the meeting every one of us could feel the emotion in the room – people’s hurt, frustration, anger, sadness—and hope. As a recent resident to Minneapolis this was such a beautiful sight to me. Many ideas were shared and discussed as we began to create a long-term, and sustainable, plan for justice – not just for Trayvon Martin, but for everyone that is and has been affected by the racism that is entrenched within our society.Last week I came across a report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement entitled Operation Ghetto Storm.  This report was created with the goal of understanding the disregard of Black life in America, a disregard which has been vividly called to many of our minds by Trayvon Martin’s and Terrance Franklin’s deaths. It breaks down how our government and our society tolerates—and even supports—the extrajudicial execution of Black people: “In 2012, 313 Black people were executed without trial by police, security guards and self-appointed law enforcers.” Every 28 hours a father, mother, daughter, son, sister, brother is murdered. For me, the most startling statistic was that 66% were people aged 2 to 31. Continue Reading