Afrika Bambaataa at PAX Miami June 15
The 305's musical tastes are as diverse as the masses who live here. We're a bunch of EDM beat freaks, salsa fanatics, Rasta lovers, hip-hop heads, hardcore punks, and indie obsessives. But we can all agree that music brings us together. This is especially true for Afrika Bambaataa's Zulu Nation, an international hip-hop movement that began back in the day as an alternative to the rise of gangs. In short, Bambaataa and his followers aim to keep kids off the streets and invite them to enter the world of the arts. "We do different events," says Omar Iz, founder of the Miami Chapter of the Universal Zulu Nation, "where the [kids] can express themselves through dance and the arts, using the four elements of hip-hop [DJing, MCing, break dancing, and graffiti art] and giving the youth, and those who choose to come, knowledge of self, of history, and self-empowerment." Although Zulu Nation has been around for nearly 40 years, the Miami chapter turns 20 this year. And in celebration of its two decades of existence, UZN is throwing a megabash at PAX, where the Godfather of Hip-Hop, Afrika Bambaataa, will make the "Planet Rock." But Bam won't be the only one "Looking for the Perfect Beat." Other DJs, MCs, former Zulu members, and b-boys — such as Rubox, Lego, DJs Klassik, Heron, Immortal, and Tom Laroc — will hype up the crowd. And though the music and artists might be all the talk, the real party here is Zulu. "[We're trying to] raise funds to organize and better assist the community," Iz explains. "This has been a labor of love on all parts. Our mission has been ongoing, and it's gonna continue. We still serve a function and will still be here, representing the four elements of hip-hop and peace, love, and unity."
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