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NON-STOP HIP-HOP: Reason to celebrate

Grit City Fest is Tacoma, and don't forget June 19

DIGGA MAC: Federal Way represent at Grit City Fest. Photo courtesy of MySpace

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It is an awesome thing to have a music, arts and community festival so aptly named to represent a city.  Example: Tacoma's Grit City Fest. 

The Grit City Fest celebrates and showcases all things Tacoma, and why not?  Tacoma is probably the most blue-collar, most diverse, most "hood" and most notorious city in the entire Northwest: basically Washington's version of Oakland.  It's not only grimy, but definitely gritty.  From Salishan to University Place and from Hilltop to the waterfront condos of downtown, Tacoma is diverse and just beginning to realize its potential. The Grit City Fest seems geared to help boost the Tac's image and momentum. 

For the hip-hop heads, Grit City Fest boasts an impressive list of performers. Some you may know, some you won't; but here's a chance to get familiar.  From Thursday through Sunday, there will be various workshops to attend, places to chill and artists to enjoy.  Veterans like Strik and Krusal, Josh Rizeberg, Evergreen One and Todd Sykes will make their presence felt throughout the weekend, but look out for names that may be on the come-up.  Cats like Digga Mac, Name The Uncanny, Rockwell Powers, Luck One, SK, Lisa Dank and Matty will also do their thing in the hope of gaining some new listeners and impacting show-goers. 

The root of The Grit City Fest, as proclaimed by the founding Tacomans, Quincy "Q-Dot" Henry and Suzanne Skaar, is "to throw a kick-ass party." With the launch of this weekend's festival, they're off to a good start - having created a great event for every artist, connoisseur, aficionado and, generally, any fan of arts and music. 

Henry and Skaar are puttin' it down for the Tac-Town.  It's an impressive production.

June Nineteenth 2010

The Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln was supposedly the signal and order that freed enslaved African-Americans from bondage in 1863.  Not so.  The proclamation was largely ignored by Southern slave owners, and many of the enslaved were uninformed and ignorant of this news (which the slave owners obviously preferred).

Not until Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops marched into Galveston, Texas on the surely scorching day of June 19, 1865 - more than two years after the enslaved were "set free" - did slavery officially become abolished.  Granger pronounced on-site that all slaves were henceforth free, and not less than an hour passed before a once unimaginable celebration began amongst those who cherished and championed true freedom.  Those who had been betrayed by the false promises of freedom and the hypocritical pronunciation of every human being considered equal, with rights to the "pursuit of happiness," were finally, officially free of physical bondage.  The remnants of psychological slavery (a much more powerful form in my opinion) can be witnessed daily by the naked eye.

Since the glorious day in 1865, black folks and those who truly love freedom have celebrated June 19 as time to reflect upon the sacrifices, endurance and courage of enslaved and mistreated people in the United States.  It is a time to remember people like Nat Turner, John Brown, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, William Wilberforce, Tecumseh, Geronimo, Frederick Douglas, Chief Longtulu and so many more who lived before and who live to this day fighting the endless fight for freedom. Hip-hop culture is unique in that it comes from what people consider the bottom: poverty and nothingness.  But its spirit is clearly connected to those who made something from nothing and did it with hope, courage, celebration and honor.

Grit City Fest

Josh Rizeberg, Luck One, SK, Matty, and EvergreenOne & Todd Sykes
Saturday, June 19, time TBA, $12-$40
The Den @ urbanXchange, 1932 Pacific ave., Tacoma
more information at

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