Brooklyn Bodega Hip Hop Institution Conference

On July 8, 2015, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend a wonderful Hip Hop conference which proved to be both enlightening and hip-hop related. This one day conference was one among 5 events of the 4 day Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.

This huge event was held at Medgar Evers College, New York. The main topic of the day was ‘Hip-Hop, Technology and Reforming and Re-investing in our community.’

The sponsors were Nielsen and Teaching Firms of America, Inc.

The Aim of the Conference

An enterprise known as ZeroCampaign was formed last year by the following:

  • Brooklyn Bodega
  • Hip-Hop Institute
  • The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival

The aim of ‘Zero’ was to particularly reduce the incidents of:

  • Gun brutality
  • Police violence
  • Domestic as well as spouse abuse

This initiative endeavored to eliminate these vices to ‘zero.’ The Zero Campaign does not just aim to deal with community organizing but to form lasting solutions for the above issues involving the culture of violence and other problems found in our community.

Great Lessons of the Day

Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival Day 1 Institution
Kenneth Montgomery, Geeta Dandbhir and Rafiq R. Kalam discuss injustice and police brutality at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop institution conference

On this great day I had the opportunity to listen to speakers talk about how we have shown our anger on the streets and how we are under scrutiny from the world; we intend to show them we are tired. Many years have been endured, going through violence and abandonment in city neighborhoods such as Baltimore and Ferguson.

People such as Walter Scott, Mike Brown and Freddie Gray have fallen victim to police misconduct. These atrocities against minority communities with low income need to be stopped once and for all.

In this regard, the conference was convened to suggest a varied kind of protest involving political and economic awareness. Genuine change involves:

      • Changing the criminal justice system.
      • Eliminating unscrupulous politicians.
      • Having more meaningful dialogue.
      • Motivating youthful men and women to pursue their visions.
      • Setting up our individual businesses

The Participants

When we arrived, we were served with refreshments as we listened to the keynote address presented by Reggie Williams (founder, Ambrosia for Heads). The event was hosted by Wes Jackson and Ebonie Jackson of the Brooklyn Bodega and the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.

Wes Jackson, Reggie Williams and Ebonie Jackson at Medger Evers College for the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Institution Conference
Wes Jackson, Reggie Williams and Ebonie Jackson at Medger Evers College for the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Institution Conference

Crucial Lessons Learnt

Other great speakers were Aubrey Flynn of Combs Enterprises,  Brandon Hixon of We Make Music, Chad Foster of Nielsen Entertainmenta and Anthony Frasier Phat Start Up.

Chad Foster, Brandon Hixon, Aubrey Flynn and Anthony Frasier discuss business and technology at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Institution Conference
Chad Foster, Brandon Hixon, Aubrey Flynn and Anthony Frasier discuss business and technology at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Institution Conference

The speakers emphasized to us that we have a great impact on culture; we build the content and are the major consumers. However, we are not gaining wealth. The panelists pledged to talk about methods of searching for business prospects in our neighborhood.

The panelists discussed the changes brought about by technology to the industry of Hip-Hop. I learnt a lot about the developing association between these two.

Robert Stolarik and Daryl Khan (journalists and filmmakers) discussed their planned documentary on the murders which were racially triggered.

Daryl Khan and Robert Stolarik discuss their film
Daryl Khan and Robert Stolarik discuss their film “Criminal Justice: The Battle of Marianna at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Institution Conference

A discussion on the reforms which should be carried out on criminal justice was held and about reforms in the pipeline and what more should be done.

I am glad I attended this well organized event; however, of utmost importance is that I became more aware of the real issues behind the negative experiences we face in our society and how to effectively deal with them.

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