“Hip-Hop reflects a lot of the things people don’t like to talk about. It’s directly rebellious and represents so much at once. So youth relate to it.” – Viva Fidel (On Hip-Hop Being An Effective Learning Tool) / Viva Fidel is a multi-faceted member of the Hip-Hop community. He is involved in a little bit of everything from rapping to social activism. Using music with a message as his weapon, his goal is to help positively impact the youth and set an example for others by being a leader. Recently, he took time out of his schedule to fill The Illixer in on all of his different ventures from his radio show to his various youth programs. Check it out after the jump.
The Illixer: Who is Viva Fidel?
Viva Fidel: Viva Fidel is your brother.
TI: How did you begin your journey into Hip-Hop?
VF: My journey into Hip-Hop began with break dancing.
TI: For someone who has never heard your music before, how would you describe it?
VF: I would describe my music as stimulating.
TI: Name two songs in your catalog that mean the most to you and explain why you chose them.
VF: My songs are like my babies, so they all mean the most to me. But the new ones are special in their own way just like the old ones. I’d have to think about that.
TI: Socially conscious emcees tend to struggle to thrive in the industry, as they go against the norm of the mainstream (sex, money, violence, etc.). How do you deal with that obstacle?
VF: There isn’t any obstacle like that for me. I stay out of those boxes and just build with like minds on all sides.
TI: For those who are unfamiliar with it, describe your radio show Viva Fidel Revolutionary Radio.
VF: It’s my very own online talk radio show where I interview great minds and discuss solutions for artists, entrepreneurs, and leaders. We cover education, mental & physical health issues, Hip-Hop, and anything else you can think of. It’s a weapon that I need to use more.
TI: Explain your youth programs Summer of Peace and Hip-Hop Social Club.
VF: Summer of Peace started as an idea to promote peace in the community ten years ago when America was going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ten years later America is still at war and going to more war. How can we expect people to be peaceful when the government is war hungry and people don’t find justice in the system? It’s a very calculated plan that I’m glad you asked me about because we are working hard planning our tenth year right now. Summer of Peace is our way of reaching out and recognizing youth leadership, teaching conflict resolution, promoting positive young artists, students, and organizations that support them. We have worked with hundreds of groups and thousands of youth have participated, volunteered, and made an impact spreading the message of “peace” in an often violent city and society. We’ve held workshops, summits, parades, talent contests; you name it, all in the name of engaging youth with positive education and entertainment. It’s a year round campaign and an annual event. This year our event will be on July 27.
Hip-Hop Social Club, same thing, started long ago bringing together different artists, performers, deejays, emcees etc. For some solution based, real talk conversations with some hard to reach youth who were also interested in rapping, dancing, and art. Now we are still in schools and centers across the city teaching about the foundation and elements of Hip-Hop culture and also the legacy of Black music and history. It’s grown into me doing “Restoration of Consciousness” classes at several schools, “Art of Emceeing” creative writing classes, and summer school programs. We are able to recruit for our Summer of Peace leadership programs through the Hip-Hop programs, so it’s all one. Both of these ideas have grown and spread out into other great things as well because I work with some of the best people and we all help each other.
TI: What is the number one thing that you want people to take away from your programs and workshops?
VF: I want people to take away the feeling of inspiration.
TI: You have your hand in a wide variety of fields such as: music, journalism, activism, radio, etc. If you could only do one of those things for the rest of your life, which one would you choose and why?
VF: It’s all one to me. I am a revolutionary. But music is the weapon that you can cover all those things with.
TI: What are some current things that you have going on that people can check out or be a part of?
VF: It’s so much! To get involved with Summer Of Peace, come sit in on one of the workshops. For booking shows, lectures, or to connect direct email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always looking for contributing writers, bloggers, interns, online, and street promoters.
**My Two Cents: So now that readers have a little insight into who Viva Fidel is, be sure to hit him up and check out one of his workshops. Also, catch him in action via his YouTube channel. -MinM