By: Jazmyne Walker
WCW Staff Writer
The Hip-Hop Caucus hosted their 1st event, The 50th Anniversary March on Washington: Freedom Party at The Salon Heaven, 1505 S. Michigan Ave. Wednesday August 28. Live music, old school and new was offered by DJ Mike and, although special guest Malik Yusef was unable to attend, Chicago MC, Tijatta “Anyialation” Williams was there to keep guests live and active. Free beverages were available to all guests and there was also time for businesses, organizations, and foundations to mingle and network with one another for possible future collaborations.
The Hip Hop Caucus is a civil and human rights organization for the 21st Century. Their movement began in 2004 with a vision to create a more just and sustainable world by engaging more people, particularly young people and people of color in the civic and policy making process.
The purpose of this particular event was to gain a collective voice among environmentalists, policy makers, young people, and community leaders, to begin the process of mobilizing communities for the next 50 years to come.
Chicago Communications Director for the Hip-Hop Caucus, Satoria Briggs said, “Because of what the Hip-Hop Caucus is all about; it only make sense to network and gain a collective voice amongst one another. We’re supposed to be engaging and mobilizing, and trying to understand where we’re all coming from so what better way to do that than to network and find out what each of us has to offer. The idea really came from the fact that it’s the 50 year anniversary and we wanted to check and see if we’re making any progress as a people.”
President and CEO, Diane Simpson, of Youth For Positive Change (YFPC), a developmental mentoring and training organization for young people in the city, came out to speak to people about their organization and their mission.
“Our mission is to increase the quality of life for youth by promoting positive partnership for the environment that supports their education and their social development,” said Simpson.
She said that she understands that music and sports play a vital role in young people’s lives and, along with the YFPC, she reaches out to entertainers and athletes to project information through them to the young parents. YFPC also works closely with parents.
“A lot of the times the parents haven’t received the tools that we’re giving the children, so we need to make sure that they have healthy strong families and that’s where these partnerships play a vital role,” said Simpson.
She invited everyone out to her upcoming youth summit, The Chicago Unity Summit that will be happening at the end of the month. She encouraged everyone to join the faith-based community in prayer and in unified effort to stop Chicago street violence (for more information on this event visit www.nationalgangsummit.org).
Co-Founders, Claude and Dena Spivey, of the Rhythm, Blues and Funk Foundation (RBFF) attended alongside “Brother El”, Director of Media and Production for RBFF. They familiarized themselves with the other organizations and business. Claude Spivey, who is also an original Parliament Funkadelic, said they discovered the event through a young artist they have been working with. Since the Hip-Hop Caucus connects young people with older and more established business owners and organization leaders, they felt it a good idea to attend and get the word out about RBFF.
RBFF is an organization that reaches out to blues and funk artists and Brother El said, “musicians from the 60s, 70s, and 80s who are not on the music scene anymore and basically we bring them back to the forefront and start giving them the accolades, the respect and the honor they deserve when they initially started doing their music.”
There was an ending performance by local artist, Double A.M. who performed his single; titled, “Watch (Go Crazy)”. The performance was hyped and full of energy and movement many of the older guests could not understand the performance. When the older crowd could not adjust to the performance easily, Briggs intervened and explained that another purpose of this event was to give the young and the wise an opportunity to interact on a positive and professional note. Briggs felt the event was a success and is looking forward to many more meaningful events.