Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson’s student-run newspaper
Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Hip-hop unites beloved community

Ashley Vela Perez
Students participate in the spray painting workshop during the Beloved Community event on Jan. 11.

The rhythmic beats of hip-hop echoed throughout Branson’s Jan. 11 Beloved Community event. Organized to celebrate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary in the Bay Area, the interdisciplinary event integrated music, fashion, art, sports and politics, highlighting the genre’s pivotal role in advocating for social justice.

“It literally started with hip-hop and blossomed into something that touches every aspect of our culture, from the way we dress to the social issues we advocate for,” said Maeve McAuley ‘24, the lead student organizer. “Choosing themes focused on social justice allowed us to highlight the genre’s transformative power and its roots in the local Bay Area.”

The event featured three keynote speakers: hip-hop experts journalist Davey D, photographer Traci Bartlow, and cultural critic and thought leader Bakari Kitwana. Their narratives shined light on the many ways that hip-hop has inspired cultural change across America.

“These speakers encapsulated everything hip-hop stands for — its culture, its impact and especially its potential to influence our community positively,” McAuley said. “Hearing their personal connections to hip-hop and its evolution was truly inspiring.”

After the keynote, there were several workshops that students could attend. Many were hands-on experiences such as DJ’ing and graffiti.

“The workshops weren’t just about learning skills; they were about immersing ourselves in the elements of hip-hop and understanding its significance in DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion],” said Henry Lien ‘24, a student participant. “It’s one thing to discuss DEI, but getting involved through these workshops felt much more impactful.”

While the event was successful, the organizers still see room for improvement.

“We received feedback about some workshops being more engaging than others and issues with scheduling not being communicated clearly,” McAuley said. “It’s a learning curve for us to ensure every part of the event is accessible and enjoyable for everyone.”

This year’s Beloved Community event set a precedent for future events with even more collaboration and community building.

“This [event] was a reminder of how art can be a catalyst for change and unity,” McAuley said. “The goal of the Branson education is to grow good humans, and that’s a big part of it.”

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Wilson Wendt
Wilson Wendt, Writer