Monday, March 29, 2010

HerStory: A Tale of Two Coasts and 2 Amazing Ladies

We all love a little rivalry now and then, especially East Coast vs. West Coast. And to add a dash and a splash of Hip-Hop intrigue into the HerStory (Amazing Women!) month, I thought it might be nice to rap about 2 dope chicas from Hip-Hop that are changing the game of social activism from 'keeping it real' to 'making shit right!'

A little back story may be in order so you can really see what’s going on, and who the players are:

1. East Coast representative J-Love Calderon

2. West Coast representative Asia One

J-Love is my best friend since age 2, growing up in Denver, Colorado, we were inseparable, whether we were roller skating on Saturdays or having gigantic house parties at my mom’s crib when she was out of town. J was not going to be a regular white girl. She always identified more with Black culture, and Hip-Hop, and was the first female I knew of in Denver to start “getting-up” on the walls with her infamous ‘Act-One” tag. While I was an awkward and shy mixed kid, J-Love fit in with all crowds. While I loved middle school, and the motley assortment of Michael Jackson, Prince and Apollonia, and Led Zeppelin influenced heads, once high school started and the gang life of Bloods and Crips saturated our world, I opted out while J got down. From that point on we began our different paths, mine as a Bgirl and hers as a social activist fighting to end white privilege. We both used Hip-Hop as a tool for growth, whether it was with Zulu Nation, where we learned about the Nation of Islam and the 5 percent nation, eating clean food and why not to eat pork, knowledge of self, Egyptology, diversity, and respect for all peoples, Behold the Pale White Horse and Alien life.

I became one of the most famous Bgirls of the early 90’s, got down with Rock Steady Crew, and became an outspoken advocate for Hip-Hop culture and spokesperson for Bboys and Bgirls worldwide. J-Love graduate from San Diego State, went on the get her masters in New York, and became a social worker, and later a case worker and educator at El Puente High School in Williamsburg Brooklyn. We both worked on the event I created with the help of Jlove and Easy Rock, and the Universal Zulu Nation of San Diego, called the Bboy Summit. It was our tribute to the skills of Hip-Hop, the disciplines and disciples, to honor the Bboys and Bgirls, the original rockers of Hip-Hop. Jlove went on to author her first book, starting the nonprofit entitled “We Got Issues” and to create curriculum for educators that teaches tools of empowerment to people of color. While J-Love cruises thru the college circuit, motivating young people and lecturing on the concept of white privilege, and crusading for truth, justice and freedom, I tour around the globe, breaking, writing graffiti, teaching workshops, and producing events. We meet up periodically to get our dose of each other, and to laugh, love, and create together.

1. What are you doing now to change the game?

JL: What I am up to now is books and the publishing business; and producing TV and Film. That White Girl, the movie focuses on a white girl coming the age while grappling with race, graffiti, Hip-Hop, and gangs; and moving on some incredible TV projects (top secret for now), and my multi-media project 'Till the White Day is Done, in which the first initiative, LOVE, RACE, and LIBERATION curriculum guide (co-edited by myself and Marcella Runell Hall) drops this Women's Herstory Month. It is a guide for educators and activists to use in discussing the tough issues of race and white privilege in America.

Asia: Turned my for profit into a nonprofit called No Easy Props Productions that houses my after school program for youth called “Hip-Hop 101” where we teach multiculturalism, self-identity, physical education through Bboy/Bgirl dance, and art education through making graffiti inspired street wear; and the international annual event est. 1994, called “The B-Boy Summit”. I am also working on a TV show about Bboys and Bgirls, and a line of energy botanical teas for the Hip-Hop community.

2. Your life’s purpose?

JL: My life's purpose is dedicated to Truth, Love, and Freedom. I commit myself to building healthy tribe, creating community, righting wrongs, and loving completely.

Asia: To build a sustainable healthy Hip-Hop community, educated, empowered, and charged with the vitality of life to change the world with.

3. Who u roll with?

JL: My crews roll deep and wide. I am down with the Hip-Hop community and progressive activist community worldwide; TV and Film projects with my partners Johnny Sanchez, Heidi Miami, M1, MC Serch, Marla Teyolia, Byron Hurt Kamilah Forbes; and my best friend and business partner launching our new Hip-Hop Tea line is none other than the amazing Asia-One.

Asia: No Easy Props is my motto and movement! Zulu Kings and Kweens is who I rep with in the circles worldwide massive. The children of the world are all of my seeds, and I roll with the youth!

4. Why folks should follow you?

JL: My goal is bridging social justice with commercially viable people, products and experiences. I would love to expand my community with like-minded, creative women leaders who care deeply about peace and social justice, as well as creating innovative, artistic projects that show the world the depth and breath of women’s' power and potential.

Asia: In order to demand more out of life, we must give of ourselves, each one doing our part collectively as a CommUnity. No more self-serving ego agendas. We want change and we are the change we want to see!

Well there you have it, 2 different phenomenal women, from different coasts, ambitious idealists that see the world thru the lens of Hip-Hop but are taking different pictures to create their story.

1 comment:

CrissyB said...

Asia's the truth! Love that girl and what she does :)