Latin Rhythms Film Screening "From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale" at the Normal Theater on Tuesday 10/8 at 7pm, Free Admission. This film is part of America's Music, a free series of film screenings, scholar-led discussion sessions musical performances, and other activities related to 20th-century American popular music (from blues to bluegrass to broadway).
Description: This exuberant documentary celebrates the cultural life of one of America's worst urban slums in the 1970s, New York's South Bronx. It was here, home to many Latin performers from mambo's heyday, that hip hop originated. In the devastation of the South Bronx in the 1970s, gang participation was almost total. This film excerpt begins in 1973, when gang leaders held a peace conference to decry the inhuman conditions they lived under. Hip hop was created and performed first by Jamaican and African American youth, and then Latinos, in abandoned parks, razed neighborhoods and burned-out buildings, as an alternative to gang violence. As one of the early artists says in the film, "We were either gonna start hip hop, or start a revolution." Break dance competitions and battles of songs and words redirected gang fighting into creative expression and brought a measure of fame to its most successful artists. Through candid and often humorous interviews with hip hop's founding artists and performers, including Kid Freeze, D.J. Charlie Chase, Popmaster Fabel Pabon and Bom 5, the film demonstrates how hip hop, like mambo before it, both reflected and defied the ghetto status and economic deprivation of its creators.Poster