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In Miami, Hip Hop Is On Life Support

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First, Cappadonna took Studio A’s money and disappeared, then someone got shot at a Studio A hip-hop party, and yesterday, the kickoff to the Miami Hip-Hop Arts Festival was cancelled for undefined reasons.

I believe that neither hip-hop nor its purpose is dead, but something is holding it back.

“Hip-Hop is good for the soul heart and mind on all levels and we are about staying true to hip-hop and its original elements-to develop the community and elevate you into another consciousness,” said Muhammad about his Organic Hip-Hop Conference beginning Friday at Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay Campus.

Muhammad was to speak on a panel at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium after the viewing of Byron Hurt’s film, “Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes.” It was a free show, part of the four-day Hip-Hop Arts Festival, which intends to educate people on how a community can benefit from hip-hop.

The festival details the emergence of hip-hop artists from criminal streets like the ones in Opa Locka and Liberty City and showcases that it's meant to be an escape from these streets instead of what it is popularly thought to be, a promoter of violence.

However, the 1st day of the festival, providing a free-to-the-community show was called off.

The movie was to start at 5p.m., but the auditorium seats were empty. The person in the sound and lighting booth said the show would start late because one of the guys responsible had not arrived.

By 5:30, children filled several front seats. They danced to the music being played and were better at it than many adults I’ve seen dancing at popular clubs. It was like being in a universe of cute. All that was missing were puppies and rainbows, but then little girls started dancing to the lyrics, “She said, ‘I’m a stripper.’” Hmm.

It was almost 7p.m. when I spoke with Kai N. Green, the manager of Joseph Caleb Auditorium’s Arts and Culture Division.

“I’m sorry but we’re going to have to cancel the show due to technical difficulties,” said Green.

She wouldn’t specify whether technical difficulties were due to machine difficulties or human errors, but she did not want to speak about the incident any further.

The children and teenagers still had fun dancing and singing to music from Grind Mode and Soulja Boy.

And as for the festival, the Joseph Caleb staff will proceed with events from Thursday April 17, through Sunday April 20. They will also show the canceled documentary this Summer.

"Hip-hop is energy, a life force that inspired many of us,” said Muhammad. “The entertainment industry in general, when it comes creating community events, has good organizers and bad organizers, you have people dealing with lots of budget and people dealing with little budget, surely many people are trying to do good things and some are not. Those 3 events, [the Cappadonna incident, the Studio A shooting, and the cancellation of the Hip-Hop Arts Festival kickoff] happened for different reasons.”

“We can’t blame hip-hop,” said Muhammad. -- Lucy Orozco

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