Arts Singapore

This Is Hip-Hop! – True Colors Festival seeks to shed light on a maligned genre with panel of international artists

This is Hip-Hop! Event Artwork Landscape

Presented as part of the True Colors Festival, This is Hip-Hop! is an online panel of nine hip-hop innovators from around the world seeking to overturn negative stereotypes about hip-hop through sharing positive and powerful personal experiences. Expect spirited exchanges about hot button topics like cultural appropriation, diversity and inclusivity, the real reason behind hip-hop’s bad press and real-life stories of hip-hop culture’s role as an agent of social change.

The session will be facilitated by Jonzi D, British hip-hop dance and theater innovator. Jonzi is co-founder of Breakin’ Convention, the world’s largest international hip-hop event. This spoken word artist is credited for raising the profile of British hip-hop and dance since the 1980s and for successfully bringing hip-hop into the theater. As one of 16 Associate Artists at the renowned Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Jonzi D is one of the most exciting talents in the British dance space. In 2011, he was bestowed the title of Member of the British Empire (MBE) – a coveted accolade he chose to turn down on moral grounds.

Jonzi D will be joined by eight panelists, who, like him, have never played it safe. Each has overcome personal social and physical barriers in pursuit of careers in hip-hop music and arts. The other panellists comprises world renowned concert and festival American Sign Language (ASL) interpreterAmber Galloway-Gallego (USA); ILL-ABILITIES™ founder Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli (Canada); rapper Saykoji (Indonesia); rapper and singer Sparsh Shah (USA); creative crew Tamura King (Japan); and rapper, beatboxer, songwriter and music producer Wheelsmith (Singapore).

The event closes with a specially commissioned freestyle dance session featuring 20 breakdancers from four countries – Jakarta, London, Singapore and Tokyo. Each dancer will bring their own style and identity to the dance floor, but are unified by a track specially written and produced for this segment by panelist Wheelsmith.

Says Jonzi D: “I am excited to meet other hip-hop heads on this platform so we can discuss the culture that gives us value. We can also share some positive hip-hop energy with the people who need to hear it the most. I look forward to hearing about hip-hop from the panelists’ perspectives – how does hip-hop allow you to recognize your superpowers?”

Says Audrey Perera, Executive Producer of True Colors Festival 2020/21: “Hip-hop is one of the fastest growing and most popular cultures around the world – that’s what inspired us to create this unusual panel discussion among successful hip-hop artists from diverse backgrounds. Expect great stories of empowerment, identity and connection. This is what True Colors Festival is all about – creating opportunities to celebrate diversity and shared humanity through the arts.” 

This is Hip-Hop! takes place live on 26th September 2020 and can be watched in real time (audiences must pre-register to receive a link to watch it live). The panel discussion will be in English, and will be available with English and Japanese subtitles; and International and Japanese Sign Language interpretation. Audiences will also be able to post questions and comments. Partners 
NME Asia will tell stories through curated digital content about This is Hip-Hop! and its line-up of artist speakers on NME Asia

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