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‘We Are Hip Hop’ mural reveal event celebrates Charlotte’s bright hip-hop culture

 By Jose Mujica

October 21, 2020 (updated)

As the hip-hop music scene in Charlotte grows more and more visible, so does its surrounding art and fashion. After the successful run of the Breakin’ Convention, hosted at the Knight Theater from 2015 to 2017, We Are Hip Hop– a new event taking its place– coalesced around the same celebration of broader hip-hop culture. Blumenthal Performing Arts partnered with poet Boris “Bluz” Rogers, artist Bree Stallings, dancer and choreographer AJ Glasco, and Heal Charlotte founder Greg Jackson to host the inaugural We Are Hip Hop event on January 21-24, 2021 at Booth Playhouse.

Courtesy of Blumenthal Performing Arts

To preview the larger event in January, We Are Hip Hop: The Reveal will host a free public mural event at Camp North End on November 6-8. Artist Bree Stallings came up with the mural concept while driving through the campus. “Before we had artists come into the Knight Theater to paint the columns, and we’re not gathering like that in public, so I was like, well, wouldn’t it be cool to do this like a public thing, since we’re trying to make this brand that’s going to exist for years beyond this one event,” said Stallings.  

The reveal event will also feature DJ battles, art installations, breakdancing, pop-up performances, a producer showcase, and food catered by Leah & Louise. In addition, Dupp & Swat and BlkMrkt CLT will be activated on Saturday with a pop-up version of Dammit Wesley’s Duragfest ending the evening on Saturday.

Charlotte artist and co-organizer of ‘We Are Hip Hop,’ Bree Stallings working on Elevator Jay mural. Photo: @BreeQuixote (IG)

For the mural, Stallings gathered a team of local artists including Dammit Wesley, Deneer Davis, 2G’s, Mike Wirth, CHD:WCK!, OWL, King Carla, and Frankie Zombie for the letters paying homage to Charlotte’s hip-hop culture. Perhaps the most eye-catching letter is Bree’s “L,” smack dab in the middle, where prolific Charlotte rapper Elevator Jay’s visage can be seen. 

“He’s a friend of mine, and he [Elevator Jay] is Charlotte hip-hop and like all his songs basically paint a map of Charlotte, so I called him and asked for permission to do his likeness. So that’s been fun,” said Stallings. 

Another notable contribution to the mural will be a final logo for the We Are Hip Hop brand designed by Marcus Kiser and the Infamous John Claude.

Photo: @ElevatorJay (IG)

For many artists, events and projects like this have brought a sense of much needed normalcy. “We come together. We make beautiful things and we help each other. Teaching and learning from everybody,” Stallings said. “This is what it’s all about, the collaborative element is so important.” 

Opening night on Friday will start around 6:15 p.m. and culminate at the mural for after-party vibes. Saturday will be an all-day event featuring several performances during the day with local artists Mason Parker and Yung Citizen hitting the stage behind the doors of the mural before the Duragfest pop-up show. On Sunday, the weekend will conclude with a virtual “After-Church Party” live from McGlohon Theater on Sunday with a limited number of free in-person tickets available. DJ Fannie Mae will provide the vibes with a special performance by Dennis Reed and the Trap Choir. 

It’s sure to be an exciting weekend recognizing the abundant hip-hop talent the city has to offer.

We Are Hip Hop: The Reveal will take place on Nov. 6-8 at Camp North End

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