Kuumba Lynx: ‘Edutainment’ for Community Empowerment

0 Flares Filament.io 0 Flares ×

In the summer of 1996, Jaquanda Villegas, Jacinda Bullie,
and Leida Garcia, came together to found the Chicagobased
arts initiative, Kuumba Lynx. Grounded in the belief
that Hip-Hop’s power to make social change is in edutainment—
a form of popular education through entertainment—
they seek to use the Hip-Hop movement to increase
urban arts, social consciousness, inner peace, creativity, and
universal freedom. Their focus has been on developing
healthy hearts, minds, and bodies, so that strong community
foundations can thrive
in a universe comprised of
love. As such, the organization
seeks to empower
urban communities,
through exploring individual
experiences and neighborhood
stories, while preserving
Hip-Hop culture.
In conjunction with
community arts programming,
Kuumba Lynx has
developed a traveling intergenerational performance
group, the Kuumba Lynx Performance Ensemble (KLPE),
dedicated to creating community edutainment. The performance
company is comprised of youth and children as
young as eight years old. The philosophy of Kuumba Lynx
is to nurture the apprentices and equip them with the
artistic skills necessary for performing and educating audiences
nationwide, while remaining rooted and connected
to their respective communities.
Kuumba Lynx Teaching Artists provide artistic, cultural
& historical educational programs specific to Hip-Hop &
urban experiences. The programs aim to preserve participants’
varied cultural backgrounds, while guiding them
through the process of creating their own performance
work or specifically studying one component/ technique
of an urban art form, such as The Art of Djaying, Graffiti
Art, Spoken Word, Urban Dance, and Hip Hop Theater.
Kuumba Lynx defines Hip-Hop as an ever growing
urban arts and cultural movement rooted in the ideology
of community upliftment and self-determination. It is a
vehicle for expressing identity, culture and community
experiences as well as a resistive force against oppression.
Kuumba Lynx is supported by The Illinois Arts Council,
City Arts I, Department of Cultural Affairs, and The
Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
In the fall of 2007, KLPE ventured South for their first
out-of-state performance of the school year. This year’s
journey was prefaced with a kiss from Mother Earth, as the
youth stepped off the concrete city streets to fully experience
the plush brown earth and natural surroundings. In
the mountains of Tennessee, the youth engaged in rock
climbing and cavern navigating in the picturesque Rock
City. Taking in the beautiful color changes of fall, the
youth were invigorated and awed by Mother Earth’s nurturing
beautification and blessings. The tone was set for an
incredible trip!
KLPE then left Rock City to continue the journey to
Atlanta, Georgia. With no definite plans other than to explore
the Spellman College campus, KLPE members happened to
stumble upon a campus talent show presented by SKIRTS
(Sisters Keeping it Real Through Service) which was slated to
begin that evening. Unexpectedly, KLPE was recognized by
an event staff member and was then invited to perform as
guests of honor for the show. Of course the KLPE crew represented
Chicago and performed to thunderous applause!
KLPE once again performed in Columbus, Georgia for
the School of Americas Watch Vigil and Nonviolent Direct
Action to Close the School of the Americas and to Change
the Racist System of Violence and Domination!” This
annual gathering brings together thousands of high
school, college students and elders together to remember
the thousands of lives taken at the hands of this institution
and to decry the U.S. government sponsored training of
South American mercenaries.
Kuumba Lynx has also performed at colleges across the
nation including The New School in New York City, San
Francisco University, Clark-Atlanta University, Spellman
College, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, University
of Wisconsin-Madison and more. Nationally, KLPE
has toured San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, South Dakota,
Grand Canyon, Hawaii, and Cuba. Wherever they travel,
Kuumba Lynx performances focus on social justice, as
well as global, community, and spiritual issues.
On May 22nd, Kuumba Lynx Performance Ensemble
will perform its annual Spring Production at Chicago’s
Steppenwolf Theatre. KLPE will perform at 10:30AM and
For tickets, folks can call Liz Levy at 312-654-5639.
For more information you can visit the Kuumba Lynx
website at www.kuumbalynx.org. Their promotional video
can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.