It's Bigger Than Hip-Hop

Chickity-check yourself before you wreck yourself. On June 13, the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi will host the second annual Mississippi Youth Hip-Hop Festival at Tougaloo College. The festival will feature local and regional hip-hop artists including Kamikaze, Skipp Coon and M.U.G.A.B.E.E. and seeks to support the developing youth-led political agenda in Mississippi through celebrating hip-hop culture, freedom of speech, and youth creating positive change in their communities.

"There is a need to create an opportunity to help youth develop their own political movement," says Nsombi Lambright, executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi and chief organizer of the event. "We want to provide young people with the tools to make a difference in their community."

The first festival was held in 2007 and attracted about 75 young people. "We were inspired to create an event which reflects the experiences young people have today," says ACLU Outreach Coordinator Sarah Young. She expects twice as many young people from all across the state to attend this year.

"If anyone needs transportation to the event, we want them to call us," she says.

Along with live performances, the festival will also include youth-led workshops. The organizers surveyed more than 60 young people in Mississippi to get a feel for what issues were most prominent in their lives. The workshops are designed to be inclusive of those needs, covering various issues such as community organizing, social justice and freedom of speech.

"I'm excited to see how the youth will bridge the two concepts of free speech and hip-hop," says Lambright. "Hip-hip is more than just a song, it's a lifestyle."

The festival is a free event and will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner. To attend, download the registration form at http://www.aclu-ms.org/hiphop and follow the instructions, or call 601-354-3408. A parent or guardian must be present with any attendee age 17 or younger.


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