“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

And Maya Angelou made me feel some kind of way. From the moment I found I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings on a library bookshelf at age 12 to when I learnt of her many occupations throughout her life in her series of autobiographies – a young working mother, a waitress, a streetcar conductor in San Francisco, a magazine editor in Cairo, an administrative assistant at the University of Ghana, a dancer, a calypso singer, a screenwriter, an actress, a civil rights activist. What a phenomenal woman. 


I was asked by the Crown Heights Mediation Center whether Dutty Artz would be interested in supporting a community-led block party initiative called the “Arts to End Violence Festival” on Kingston Ave and of course the answer was an absolute yes. The Mediation Center is a community organization that provides a variety of services to create a healthier and safer neighborhood for everyone, with one of their primary focuses being gun violence prevention. One of their projects, called Save Our Streets (S.O.S) works to reduce shootings and killings and works to mobilize the neighborhood. (more…)

NYSYLC End of Year Party, Thurs Dec 27th. Location: Danny Screams Studios, 220 Leonard St

If it hasn’t become extraordinarily transparent by now, I am an organizer. And on occasion, I like nothing more than to spin tunes for incredible people raising money for much needed causes.

Today , I’m spinning for the New York State Youth Leadership Council’s (NYSYLC) end of year party, which is raising scholarship funds for undocumented youth to be able to afford college. NYSYLC is an undocumented youth-led organization in New York City that empowers immigrant youth to challenge the broken immigration system through leadership development, grassroots organizing, educational advancement, and is also a safe space for self-expression.

If you are in the boroughs for the holidays, come get your post-Christmas, Mayan celebration of the New Year on with us. Immigrant communities are looking towards 2013 for big changes, with a real possibility of immigration reform. Why not start mobilizing with a dance party?

Location: Danny Screams Studios, 220 Leonard St

Cover: $10 (all proceeds go to NYSYLC’s scholarship fund)

Closest trains: L at Lorimer; G at Metropolitan

Doors open 8pm; Happy Hour before 10pm, goes til 2am 


*co-written by Boima Tucker and Thanu Yakupitiyage

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Photos in this series were taken by Sabelo Narasimhan (daytime photos) and Neha Gautam (evening photos).

On September 18th, 2012, Dutty Artz, Beyond Digital, La Casita Comunal de Sunset Park, La Union, CAAAV-NY, and the Arab American Association of New York presented the first edition of Beyond the Block at Rainbow Playground in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. Beyond the Block was a day-long music, arts, and community festival that took place in the crossroads between several major immigrant communities in New York. We had performances and participants from various communities in the South Brooklyn area, and invited musicians, artists, and organizers from outside the neighborhood in order to connect them. As we attempt to improve upon our efforts with future incarnations, we present the story of this festival with the hope that it can serve as an example of the merging of arts activism In-Real-Life with the ideals of a ‘globalized society’.


We keep it fresh at iBomba and tonight we’re bringing you some guests up from Canada to get you winding. Don’t miss our guest DJ tonight from Montreal, Poirier! AND added bonus, Colombian-Toronto darling, Lido Pimienta will be doing a set, so if you missed her at Que Bajo?! last week, this is your second chance.

More on our guests:

Ghislain Poirier has become recognized as one of the world’s leading tropical bass DJs, using electro, hip-hop, soca, U.K. funky, and dancehall beats along with vocalists and rappers comfortable with his mesh of those genres. You can download his new Kidnap Riddim for free here.

Lido Pimienta, a visual artist and musician from Toronto reppin’ hard for Colombia jumps back and forth from electronic music to afro colombian music with ease. I watched her skillfully blend folkoric Colombian music with electronica at her performance at Que Bajo?! last Thursday, with lyrics steeped in political undertones. A must see.

We welcome both of them to the iBomba family to join myself (DJ Ushka) and DJ Beto keep the vibe right all night.

When: Monday, October 8th; 10pm – 4am

Where: Bembe, 81 South 6th St


For deets on facebook, click here.


(Thanu and longtime Dutty Artz collaborator, DJ Ripley (Larisa Mann) are Detroit bound)

This week, we’re in Detroit for the Allied Media Conference, a networking conference for youth organizations, organizers/activists, technologists, educators, media reform advocates, alternative economists, musicians, DJs, artists, and others who come together to develop new ideas and expand upon the relationships between media and justice, and explore community approaches to social change.

There’s been a slew of discussions bubbling up online and off that involve politics, music and nightlife. It’s funny to us that these discussions often start with the assumption that politics and nightlife are different, because we have never experienced those worlds as separate, and neither do most of the communities we care about and live with. So we decided to start here from the assumption that there are already politics on the dancefloor and the questions is – how do we deal with it?

We wanted to share and start conversations around work that is meaningful to us as deejays, event planners, and organizers by discussing the relationship between activism and music– and how to explore dancefloors as sites of and for activism. What are the possibilities of challenging dominant social orders through the creation of dance space? How are certain spaces (gay ballrooms, queer dance parties, Jamaican street dances, for example) sites of resistance and how are they simultaneously valued, idealized & misused by those inside of those subcultures?

If you’re around the AMC these next few days, stop by our session on Friday at 4pm.

Here’s a short blurb (for a more thorough descript click here):

Radical Organizing from the Dancefloor

“You’re an activist? But you party so much!” Political activism and dancefloors – the languages don’t always overlap, neither do the people – but nightlife is key to survival and sanity for many marginalized communities. We will come up with tools to discuss nightlife with activists, the impact that cultural spaces can have, and how to embody activism on the dancefloor. Come share your favorite stories of political pleasure, failure or success on the dancefloor, and we will strategize responses to them, and other scenarios we have encountered as DJs and event planners. Location: Hilberry A (Student Center)

PRESENTERS: Larisa Mann (DJ Ripley), Surya Dub; Thanu Yakupitiyage, iBomba, Dutty Artz | #AMC2012 #raddances

You can check out all conference workshops in the program here.

We’ll keep you up to date from AMC, so stay tuned for more! You can also follow us on twitter – @laripley and @ty_ushka. Dutty Artz crew member, @TAL1ES1N is also at AMC, so follow him too.