Summer is in full swing at ElevArte and we wanted to highlight some of our youth organizing the We Are Hip Hop Festival on Saturday, August 10th. Our first highlight is an interview with Aleax Mejia, team leader of logistics for the festival.
What are three things you are excited about for this year’s We Are Hip Hop Festival?
I’m excited to see up-and-coming Chicago artists. Last year, we were able to listen to new artists music and it’s always a pleasure to listen to good local music. Secondly I’d really like to see how the graffiti battle goes this year. The graffiti battle involves around 10 graffiti artists that have to write a word of our choice with only three complementary colors.
Last year, we had some really amazing artists, including our very own Elizabeth Del Valle, who is part of the sponsorship team. Watching how each of the artists expressed the word with their own unique style and talent was an experience that couldn’t be replicated. Lastly, I just want to see the turnout. I want the day to go smoothly and for it to be a good time for anyone who attends the festival.
What are some new skills you are gaining as a result of being part of the We Are Hip Hop management team?
I’m learning to be a professional businesswoman because as the team leader of logistics, I have to speak with food-vendors, company managers, and sales-people. I also need to speak impromptu on the telephone or send emails with just the right wording. Every bit of effort and detail counts because it means that we can have more for the community at our festival. This also gives me an opportunity to meet new people, and express my individuality in hip-hop. The fourth element of hip-hop is knowledge--and by spreading this knowledge through the means of unity with our festival is truly fulfilling.
What role does team work play in the We Are Hip Hop Festival?
Teamwork plays a big role in the We Are Hip Hop Festival because we need to know what individuals are accomplishing on our team so we have an idea of how the festival is progressing. It’s also important to work with each other on drafts and other documents that need to be submitted. As I said before, it’s important that we put our best foot forward so our festival can have as much as possible.
What are your thoughts on women in Hip Hop?
Women in hip-hop are truly individuals; there are no two women of hip-hop that are alike. I have met b-girls that have to work twice as hard as b-boys to earn their respect as a break-dancer. Being a female MC is hard because your demeanor has to be strong and your bars have to be meaningful and slick otherwise you’ll get laughed at in a battle. Women in graffiti are very hard to find because like break-dancing, it’s a male-dominated community. But I haven’t met one female graffiti-artist that isn’t confident of their skill. Women of hip-hop are unlike any other because it takes guts and skill to be part of this community.
Will there be any women Hip Hop performers participating in the festival?
Yes, Psalm One from Chicago is possibly a potential artist for this year. She has notoriety within Chicago and her music is unique with influences of Lauryn Hill and Fionna Apple. If she does perform, I’m really excited to see her because I like her music and the way she delivers her raps is really unique.
Our lineup isn’t confirmed just yet, so stay tuned for our artists.
Why should teens and their families come to the We Are Hip Hop Festival?
Teens and their families should come to the We Are Hip Hop Festival because not only is it an opportunity to try something new but it is a free festival promoting the positivity of hip-hop--something that is distorted in today’s mainstream music. Hip-hop is for the people by the people and in this community there is something for everybody.
You can get updates on the festival by going to our Facebook fan page at We Are Hip Hop or on Twitter and Instagram @elevartestudio.