Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rocking with the new generation: Notes on Rock the School Bells

The 4th edition of Rock the School Bells, a conference geared towards middle/high schoolers that incorporates hip hop appreciation and social awareness, happened this weekend in San Bruno (near South San Francisco). Students were introduced to DJ, graff, and dance skills while also learning about hip hop fundamentals and the politics of the hip hop music business.

The conference was topped off with an amazing concert line-up, including some incredible talent from young (I mean YOUNG) Fil Am performers like the youngbloods in The Art of Teknique (ages 8 to 9, see video below) and Aftermath Youth (one kid had to be 5 years old!). This younger generation of dancers are mentored by their parents, who grew up on hip hop and still perform to this day. Nonetheless, the grown ups still repped to the fullest. The multitalented group Dirty Boots featuring Denizen Kane provided grown folk, professionally-polished virtuosity, engaging with minimal instruments (drum kit, bass, guitar) yet adding a deluge of flavor through rapping, singing, scatting, and genre versatility.

Multitalented Rachel Lastimosa of Dirty Boots

San Francisco stands as one of those unique geographies that can generate a critical concentration of Fil Am cultural production. Skyline College, which hosts the conference and employs a team of visionary Fil Am educators who organize the event, has a population in which 1/4 of the students are Filipino.

The right people, the right place, and the right time.

RTSB provides the venue for the new generation of Fil Am performers to showcase their craft, just as the car shows, PCNs, clubs, and Friendship Games did for their parents. The unbelievable skills that today's Fil Am youth display is a testament to the ingrained and intimate relationship that Fil Ams in general have with hip hop performance.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend from the South San Francisco Patch.

Hip hop entrepreneurship panel with cityscape built by Skyline students. Photo taken by me.

These children will rock you and school you!


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