04.09: The State of the U (One Mic Panel Line Up)

04.09: The State of the U (One Mic Panel Line Up)


Wednesday, April 9th

The State of the U: The Effects of Gentrification on DC Hip Hop

Kennedy Center- Millenium Stage | 2700 F Street, NW-WDC


In the late 1990’s to early 2000’s the famed U Street, NW corridor was bustling withartistryof all kinds. There were venues like Mango’s Cafe, Bohemian Caverns, State of the Union and Bar Nun which served as community spaces for artists and thinkers alike. Today U Street, NW resembles many of the gentrified areas of DC and the once progressive and Black arts movements have been slowly pushed out over the years, save for one or two venues. This panel will discuss the trickle down effects of gentrification on DC hip hop specifically and the independent artist movement in general. What happens to culture when it is priced out? How do artists regroup when their meeting and performing spaces are taken or lost? What is the cultural price of gentrification?


Moderated by: Jess Solomon
Panelists: Rhome “DJ Stylus” Anderson | Marc Powers | Toni Blackman | Head-Roc | Omrao Brown | Raquel Brown | Brent “Munch” Joseph | Victoria Murray Baatin | Cory Stowers

About the panelists:

Jess Solomon is a creative blurring the lines lines between making, performing and cultural organizing. Currently she’s planning DC’s inaugural Anna Julia Cooper Day and imagining an Afro-futuristic tale of DC jazz greats haunting present-day U Street. Twitter: @jesssolomon | Website: artinpraxis.org

Rhome “DJ Stylus” Anderson is a native Washingtonian DJ, music producer, writer and cultural curator. Twitter: @DJStylus | Website: www.VibeConductor.com

Victoria Murray Baatin is the Legislative and Community Affairs Director for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the official arts agency for the District of Columbia. Victoria has also worked with the Americans for the Arts Action Fund where she spearheaded the ArtsVote2012 campaign; a national initiative geared towards ensuring that the arts impact federal elections. Victoria holds an MA in Art and Public Policy from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a BFA from Howard University. Twitter: @TheDCArts | Website: http://dcarts.dc.gov/

Founder of both Freestyle Union and Rhyme like a Girl, this emcee/writer was the first artist selected to work as a U.S. Hip Hop Ambassador. Toni Blackman is a DOVE Real Woman who has performed and spoken in 34 countries and releases her next book Wisdom of the Cipher along with new music in 2014. Twitter: @ToniBlackman | Website: www.toniblackman.com

Omrao Brown is part owner, operator and programmer of both Bohemian Caverns and Liv Nightclub since 2006. Also founding partner of Shine On Me Productions. He is the creative engine behind the programming that spans, DJs to big band and jazz to soul to hiphop and everything in between.  Twitter: @TheeBigOhWebsite: www.livdc.com

Raquel Brown  was born and raised in Philadelphia. Host of the famous Mangos open mic for close to a decade, Raquel is a proud product of U Street’s art scene, and works with the youth of the city aiding them in finding their voice through poetry and creative writing.

Brent “Munch” Joseph is a cultural curator, DJ, producer and proprietor of HedRush Agency an experiential marketing boutique based in Washington, DC. Twitter: @HedrushMusic Website: hedrushagency.com

Head-Roc is one of Washington, DC’s most distinguished and accomplished musicians of our time, and is known around the World as the “Mayor of DC Hip-Hop”. Despite the effects of gentrification in the DC Hip-Hop community he helped build, Head-Roc enjoys a successful D.I.Y. independent artist career spanning over 20 years. Head-Roc is a trusted community leader and a loving and devoted father to his daughter Jahmila. Twitter: @Head_Roc | Facebook:  facebook.com/pages/HeadRoc

Marc Powers breathes music. From The State of the Union to The Howard Theatre, he has curated  and showcased local and national musical acts along the U Street corridor and the rest of the DMV, since 1998.

Cory Stowers is a writer, visual and recording artist. Co-Owner of Art Under Pressure and founding member of The Double Down Kings, the largest graffiti crew in the tri-state area with 300+ members. Project manager for 40 publicly commissioned murals in Washington DC, and a teacher who has instructed over 500 students in the craft of graffiti art over the past 17 years. Twitter: @rockcreeklee


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