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1Hood Hip Hop Festival

1Hood Day Hip Hop Festival August 11th and 12th 2017
1Hood Members interviewed by Bonita Lee Penn SPQ


Photographer: Leah Johns


1Hood will host their community hip hop festival next Thursday and Friday (August 11th and 12th) at Repair The World: Pittsburgh and AR3 Park. This will be their 10th year anniversary of the 2-day of Pittsburgh’s first hip hop festival. This 2-day event will offer the public an interactive opportunity to get to know and hear the talented artists of 1Hood and other organizations who live and celebrate their lives in Pittsburgh and have come together as a positive force.

Thursday’s events will take place at Repair The World: Pittsburgh (6022 Broad Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15206); hosted by DJ QRX with performances by Naomi Ruth Allen, Tyra Jamison, Jermalle Johns, James Perry, Ki Manus, Devyn Swain, Tresa Murphy-Green, Patience Royal, Joan Mukogosi, Dejah Monea, Zendé Reid, Lyn H-Five Starr and NBND.

Friday’s events will take place at Anthony Rivers Park (ARP3) (200 Penn Circle W. Pittsburgh PA 15206); hosted by David Banner with special guest poet/activist Jessica Care Moore and performances by Jasiri X, Blak Rapp Madusa, Livefromthecity, Jordan Montgomery, DJ Big Phyll, Jacquea Mae Music, Phillip Bigphill Thompson, Soul Man Idasa Tariq, and AR3 Celebration of Life Foundation.

SPM recently was honored with the opportunity to sit down with the Celeste Smith, Jasiri X, Jacquea Mae and several of the young artists who are part of the 1Hood family and who will be part of the festival’s performance. The group shared what excited them most about the upcoming festival; also some memories of past events.

“When I think of 1Hood’s festivals, it takes me back to the E-fest which use to be held every summer in East Liberty on Penn Avenue,” said Jacquea Mae. She provided a little history of the festival to the younger artists in the room that E-fest was ‘the’ annual summer happening produced for and in the East Liberty community. There was something going on for residents of all ages. It was a big event that drew people from all over Pittsburgh’s east side, as East Liberty has always been known as the Gateway to the East. She ended by saying for some reason it stopped, some say it was because of a violent altercation. But what the community remembers is that young people were no longer allowed to perform or enjoy themselves.

Last year’s event many of those in the community had their chance to enjoy themselves as an estimate of 600 people attended the 2015 two-day event. As you can tell by the lineup this year’s event promises to be filled with more, if even more, excitement than last year’s event. Jasiri X shared one of his memories of last year’s event, “the first day I remember Sa-Rock getting on stage and she destroyed it.” Jacquea added that she remembers the little girls in the audience singing along with Sa-Rock. Sa-Rock may be small in stature but she has a very powerful voice.

Jasiri agreed and added another interesting highlight of last year’s event was the confirmation of the high energy in the atmosphere when Tef Poe hit the stage. He noticed another male jumped on stage with the artist and started to dance. “At first I thought he was part of Tef Poe’s act, but it turned out to be someone from the community who just wanted to dance,” he said. That was cool, until the dancer’s movements revealed a gun holstered to his hip. The security made up of the brothers of NOI, immediately went over to the young man and let him know the situation and he needed to put the gun away. With no defensive response the young man thanked them, went off stage and came right back without his gun, but his energy was even higher and he continued to dance.

Celeste added, “It was a feeling of family. The gun incident was taken care of in a quiet, discreet and respectable manner. No one felt threatened and the fun went on. This is what happens when you trust those you work with. She then described the day as one of great weather; energized atmosphere and yes a few were shaken about the gun, but there was no trouble as the brothers from the NOI handled the situation. The brothers being around gave a sense of security, sort of like the feeling you have when you have your Uncles around.

Livefromthecity, a 1Hood artist added the day held a heavy presence of peace and power. It was strange when one bystander came up to me and said that he hopes the day goes well because he heard a lot of people get shot in this park. I thought what a thing to say, but the entire day went so well. It just confirms the misconception that Black people gathering and violence go hand-in-hand. It was so good to see the Black community coming together to have a good time. A day of no arguments, no fighting, just enjoying the music and each other’s company. These types of positive activities really change the perspective of how people view us.

1Hood is a program of young people (doing what) on Thursday and Friday you will be hearing the messages of some of the artists including several female artists. During our sit down I asked them what can the audience expect from their performances, what has them all hype up about performing next week in from of their community.

First up is Tyhir Frost who throughout this group interview has been first up with plenty of enthusiastic responses. He has been described by his 1Hood peers as a presence on stage to be reckon with. I am sure the audience will be excited to hear and see him in action, but today he humbly states that he is excited just to get on stage and give the audience all he has to give.

Next a word from one of the little sisters, Torra Bird, who shares that she started to rap at the young age of 12. “I would sit back and watch what was going on with hip-hop,” she said. “Back then it was more a male thing, but as a female rapper I’m here to change the game and show them that a lot of females a can do what they do.” Sister Torra Bird has been part of the Summer Dreamers youth organization, even then she was at work on her rap skills. With each performance she received words of encouragement from her peers and adults. “The feedback was always positive,” she said. People would comment that she has the talent to be another MC Lyte.

All the young people in attendance were excited about the upcoming event and their performances. The room was filled with such excitement and energy. One of the artists that afternoon who was nothing less than excited was Livefromthecity who added, “Positive energy is always in our environment. You cannot create positive energy without positive people and that is what makes 1Hood what it is.” He describes how everyone in 1Hood pushes each other to the best of our ability. “I already know Thyir is going to light up the stage and his powerful performance is going to push me to be 10x as good.” He adds that the 1Hood artists are a close and positive family, as well as, talented and it helps our performance. What makes this event extra special it is the 10th year anniversary. He pays respect to 1Hood for taking him farther than he would had if he was just out there on his own. “I would have not been exposed to 75% of the craft and technicality of the music/entertainment/media process if I was not part of 1Hood,” he says. And, yes he is excited to be able to perform music from his first CD.

The next 1Hood artist, Jacquea Mae whom I have personally had the pleasure of being in the audience at some of her performances. What attracts me to her is her stage confidence and the obvious love for what she does. She adds that she looks forward to be able to see all the artists perform and to be part of the 10th year of 1Hood giving to the East Liberty community.

Even though this is the 10th year, the name of the event has not always been 1Hood Day. Last year the festival which consisted of a film, art exhibit and feature artist Talib Kweli was held at the Kelly-Strayhorn and the Alloy Studios under the name of Culture Steel Hip Hop Festival. SPM asked why the festival name change? Celeste explained that even though the festival was a collaborative process, the bulk of the responsibility fell on the shoulders on those in 1Hood. “As an organization we put so much work into this event,” she said. The festival’s mission was to unite people and that reflects the mission of 1Hood. So they decided instead of being part of a collaborative and performing most of the work, they would do this on their own, as a 1Hood event.

Confirmation of the need and the appreciation from the community for the continued need of this festival was evident when people came up to Jasiri after the 2015 festival and asked him when were they having another event. “They asked if we were having another one next week,” Jasiri said. He described the positive spirit in the park during the festival, and that feeling is what made 1Hood want to hold the next festival outside. “There’s a different vibe outside,” he said, adding “when I got the park that day, Brother J from X-Clan was playing one on one with a little dude, he has some skills. I would have never known this.” That is the different vibe he spoke of, one where the community and artists were free to interact with each other on and off the stage.

Jasiri added one more highlight from last year’s festival. “At the end some young brothers from the community wanted to get on stage. They were excited by all the artists’ performances. They wanted to perform on stage. They even offered to pay to get on stage. I said no that’s not what this is about, go ahead and get on stage. They were just happy to be on stage. To see them get on stage and do their thing it was a cool moment. Paradise even got on stage with them and danced. This was like a love moment,” Jasiri said.

The 1Hood Day is going to be a great event please bring your entire family, share this with everyone in your community. Come out and enjoy the music, vendors, games and prizes. Even though this is a free event, please make sure you support 1Hood with a donation. To read more about 1Hood check out their website 1Hood.org.

**Each day activities 5p.m. – 10 p.m.



Photographer: Leah Johns


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