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People Taking Charge :1: Hip Hop: “Voice of the Voiceless”

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Watch the Rebel Diaz music video “Which Side Are You On?”

Listen to “Fruits of Babylon” by Foundation Movement.

YES! Magazine graphic: People Taking Charge

In July, the South Bronx community was bogged down in a dispute with New York City police over whether they had all the correct sound permits needed to hold a community concert at The Rock Garden. In the end, the wrangling didn't matter—residents and performers decided to go ahead with the free concert, with or without permits.

It's that we-don't-need-permission attitude that keeps the Hip Hop genre relevant.

Foundation Movement and Rebel Diaz, Hip Hop artists who hit hard at social justice themes, were among the performers.

Hip Hop is right at home being the voice of the voiceless—anti-establishment from the onset,” says Ernesto Arroyo, aka Eroc, of Foundation Movement. “It has always represented the voice of the people. Simply because corporate radio decided it's not in their commercial interest to promote music that supports positive social change doesn't mean that music hasn't always existed.”

Eroc emphasizes that he and bandmate Optimus are activists first. “Whether we are performing in Philadelphia in support of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, or in refugee camps in Palestine demanding an end to occupation worldwide, we recognize that through our music we can be advocates.”

South Bronx Community Concert. Photo by Eroc of the Foundation Movement
Photo by Eroc of the Foundation Movement
People Taking Charge :: 1 of 7
Foundation Movement performing
Foundation Movement performing

South Bronx Community Concert. Photo by Eroc of the Foundation Movement
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