Earlier this year, Royal Tribe Music's Stand Up Now! tour had local hip-hop and R&B artists performing in nontraditional venues around the region, raising awareness about issues facing the African-American community. Now, the nonprofit is teaming up with community stakeholders and organizations, such as Concerned Citizens of Allegheny County, to present the Urban Roots Hip-Hop Arts Symposium, a free educational event at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater on Fri., Nov. 16.
The event features an address and Q&A session with the legendary Chuck D., co-founder of Public Enemy, which recently released its 10th full-length album, How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul? Chuck D.'s music career, incisive social commentary, and business (especially Web) savvy have made him an in-demand speaker at college campuses and conventions. His political activism has included work with Rock the Vote, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and the National Urban League, among other organizations.
But it's not all speeches and educational stuff -- the Symposium features plenty of music, including DJ Goodnight, DJ Schizophrenic, Y.M. Da Kid, Chaoz Da BlakJak, Rezurrected Dance Troupe and many other performers and visual artists.
"We want to give as many artists as possible a chance to showcase," says Royal Tribe president Kent Bey. The CAPA grad and retired Navy serviceman uses his musical background as a tool to work with Pittsburgh's at-risk youth, with the goals of increasing high-school graduation rates for African-American teens and preventing neighborhood violence. "We all have to live here," Bey says.
(Right before the Symposium, on Thu., Nov. 15, the Thomas Merton Center and Royal Tribe will offer a free workshop entitled "The Critical Eye: Savvy Media Consumption and Production." Visit www.standupnowtour.com for more information.)
The Symposium is a project of many community organizations, including the Sprout Fund and Brotha Ash Productions, and media outlets (City Paper is a co-sponsor). It's also a benefit for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and though the event is free, a non-perishable food donation is requested.
Stand Up Now! Urban Roots Hip-Hop Arts Symposium. 6:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 16. Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. Free (non-perishable food donation requested). 412-657-3327 or www.standupnowtour.com