Hip Hop and Rap isn't always portrayed in the best way: diatribe, misogyny and violence is often linked with the two genres. However, Restless Beings, a non-profitable charity founded in 2007, decided to bring a nexus of talented Hip Hop artists together to 'ignite your conscious' on Saturday night. The event, called Human Writes, was held at Rhythm Factory in Whitechapel, and intended to promote awareness of some of the most neglected communities across the world. "This is not music for the sake of music. It's music with a message, for charity," said Mabrur Amhed, co-director and founder of Restless Beings at the event.
"We believe in creativity and visual arts because art is accessible to everybody," said Rahima Begum who, along with Mabrur, set up the charity. Kayne Anthony, an 18-year-old rapper and one of the standout acts of the night, said: "I think it's a really good outlet for people to learn something new." And it's true. Historically, Hip Hop has been used as an instrument to educate and inspire. "You need music to bring about change. Hip Hop has educated people. Who was Malcolm X? Who was Gandhi? People have found out about them through Hip Hop," said TY, a prominent rapper in the British hip-hop scene.
At the very front of the hall, on DJ Snuff's workstation, hung a Keffiyeh (the ubiquitous black and white scarf that was made popular by the Palestinian resistance movement in the 1960's). And, although there was probably no real reason why it was there, it was symbolic of what Restless Beings stand for: the fight for human rights.
However, Mohammed Yahya - who along with Sarina Leah, make up the duo Native Sun - elucidated before his performance: "We attach ourselves to certain causes and forget about others. Who knew about the riots in Mozambique [in September]?"
Yahya's words are indicative of the Restless Beings organization who aim to bring hope to the most marginalised and impoverished people throughout the world - communities often ignored by the mainstream media. Restless Beings, most notably, concentrates on four projects worldwide: Bangladesh street children, the Roma gypsies, the Rohingyas and the Uighur community. To find out more about these projects, click here.
Melissa Melodee, who sung and rapped about: the ephemerality of material possessions, the importance of family and the lack of world justice, praised the work of Restless beings: she said: "I think what they are doing is amazing. I can put them on the same level as Amnesty international. Events like this opens the consciousness of minds of people."
Femi Santiago, like Melodee, is a singer/songwriter, he said: "The amazing thing about this type of movement is that it will inspire people to make a stand - whether they attach themselves as part of this cause or create their own cause. And this is how we will evolve as humanity. "
Jimmy Jitsu, a rising star in the UK Hip Hop scene, said: Restless Beings shed light on issues which haven't been covered. I personally connect with the homeless population in the UK, drug addicts and those with mental illness.
TY tweeted after the event: "I've never done a show anywhere in the world and the day after, the audience and the artists are all speaking on twitter. NEVER."
The atmosphere was, on the whole, palpably friendly. We need more of them.
The event was also graced with performances by: Black the Ripper, Nathan 'Flutebox' Lee, Poetic Pilgrimage, Quest-Rah, Poet Curious, Lorianne, Caxton Press and Mangaliso Asi.
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