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).
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)