Seven local hip-hop artists will bring their rhythms and rhymes to downtown Renton Saturday, May 17. The show, called Real Hip Hop 4 Real Change, is at Harambee, a church and community center on South Third Street, will benefit Mercy Corps efforts to stop the genocide in Darfur.
The show is the brainchild of Lindbergh senior Michelle Nguyen.
“Basically I just woke up and was like, ‘Today I want to do something that matters,” Nguyen says.
She “woke up” during last semester’s contemporary world issues class. That’s where she learned about the crisis in Darfur, in Africa’s western Sudan.
“One of the issues I felt very passionate about was the effort that needed to be made for humanitarian aid over in Darfur,” Nguyen says.
Nguyen listens to a lot of underground Seattle-area hip hop. She decided to fuse two of her passions: music and her humanitarian ideals.
Two of the seven groups performing at Nguyen’s show are from Renton, and graduated from Lindbergh High. Seattle artist Grieves is headlining the show. The other performers are Alexipharmic, Arkatype, Notion, Abadawn, Know choice and Krue.
Nguyen picked the seven artists for the positive messages of their music.
She says, that like other Seattle underground hip-hoppers, “They’re not talking about how many girls they’ve slept with or Cristal (champagne) or marijuana,” she says. “They’re talking about how to better the world.”
Nguyen wants to continue doing her part to better the world after the May 17 show. She wants to put on the concert every year, to benefit a variety of causes.
“I feel like this is my calling,” she says.
Nguyen didn’t just begin her community service. The “Mrs. LHS” student (awarded for her spirit and outgoing nature) is a Link Crew leader mentor and on the yearbook and prom committees. She has also helped the community with her Kent church. The May 17 show is the culmination of a few months of work by Nguyen.
“I am extremely, extremely happy that this is finally coming about,” she says. “I just can’t wait to have the youth be involved in something of substance instead of just going out and partying.”
The focus of her show is not only to raise money for Darfur, but to spark the spirit of activism in her peers.
“I think if I can just spread the word about this, and plant the seed in their mind, they’ll think about more things going on in the world and maybe it will spark their interest as far as helping out charities.”
Emily Garland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (425) 255-3484, ext. 5052.