Two weeks ago, Crossfade video master Jacob Katel and I dropped in on the last day of the second annual P.A.T.H. hip-hop summer camp run by Brimstone127 and Amit Regev. The week-long workshop was held down the street from the Miami New Times offices, at the Miami Light Project. was like a conscious hip-hop version of Fame.
In one corner, there were kids working on paper murals of urban art. In another, a couple girls (yay, females!) were messing around mixing old school breaks on a set of turntables (hooked to Serato, so this was kind of technologically updated). A few feet away a freestyle cypher was going on, and behind that a 10-year-old firecracker named Jahiah was busting out some straight acrobatic dance moves. (He later told me with a little kid's pluck that he has already danced onstage with KRS-One, and that the rest of his crew is 20 to 30 years old).
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Not to sound too corny, but the overall vibe was so positive it was contagious, and even the 20- and 30-something instructors looked younger in their enthusiasm. It was relaxing and energizing to take a couple hours to listen to some deep b-boy cuts (props to Brimstone for throwing A Certain Ratio into the play list!), and listen to young people talk about creativity and constructive action. There are a lot of complainers in this town, and we need more organizations like P.A.T.H. to keep the artistic apathy from spreading.
By the way, all the campers -- many of them repeat visitors from last year -- attended on full scholarship. And it doesn't end here. Brim and Amit both hope to keep the P.A.T.H. community going over the Internet during the school year, and possibly host a winter session. Next year, they also hope to get back to their original, month-long schedule, and even open a second location.
Here's hoping, and here's a video of highlights from that visit.
-- Arielle Castillo (words) and Jacob Katel (video)