Hip hop project at Manchester youth zone ends with spectacular celebration event

Young people spent six weeks exploring the music which has taken the world by storm and come to dominate the charts in recent decades.

A Manchester youth zone was taken over by hip hop for an ambitious project giving young people the chance to explore in depth a form of music that has taken the world by storm in recent decades.

HideOut Youth Zone in Gorton teamed up with the Manchester HipHop Archive for a six-week project exploring the ciy’s musical heritage and identity and the impact of the seismic youth movement over four generations.

The workshops and events came to a spectacular close with a celebration event attracting 140 people giving participants the chance to showcase what they had learned.

Hip hop originated in African American and Caribbean American communities in the USA and is now the genre in which many of the biggest names in the music scene today, such as recent Glastonbury headliner Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z and Kanye West, all work.

What was the Hip Hop Takeover at HideOut Youth Zone?

HideOut Youth Zone teamed up with the Manchester HipHop Archive to run the Hip Hop Takeover at the Gorton facility, starting in late May.

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Each week the Manchester HipHop Archives led deep-dive sessions with youth zone members exploring a range of topics including the history of hip hop, music making and production, fashion and customization, breakdancing, DJing and operating turntables, graffiti art and rap and spoken word.

To mark the end of the partnership there was a celebration event at the Hyde Road facility attended by more than 140 young people, giving them the opportunity to showcase everything they had learned from the project.

Young people at HideOut Youth Zone explored hip hop music in a six-week project

HideOut members were also provided with free entry and a free hot Caribbean meal thanks to the Manchester HipHop Archive’s funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Those involved in the project said it was a good way for youngsters from diverse ethnic backgrounds to have the chance to learn about and try their hand at a style of music which has become a global behemoth and a huge part of the popular music industry.

It was also a way of celebrating the fact that hip hop has been more significant as a soundtrack to Manchester in recent decades than some people might initially think.

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The project is supported by Manchester City Council through its campaign 2022: Our Year campaign; a year of action to create more activities, opportunities and experiences and support for children and young people across the city.

What has been said about the hip hop takeover?

John Green of Manchester HipHop Archives said: “The Manchester HipHop Archive was buzzing to deliver our education outreach project at HideOut.

“Over the six weeks, beat makers, scratch DJs, break-dancers, rappers, graffiti artists, and fashionistas had the opportunity to meet and work with some fantastic young emerging talents.

“Our local history and heroes helped build and shape the mainstream street culture we enjoy today, so it is important to share Manchester hip hop heritage with these young people.

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Hip hop fashion was part of the project

“Through our three-month mini-exhibition (which we displayed around the Youth Zone) and the delivery of the project, we were able to share stories of pioneers, ephemera, objects and clothing which belonged to young Mancunians in the ’80s, 90’s and 2000’s.

“To celebrate the end of the project, we came together to watch performances, celebrate the young people’s work, enjoy Caribbean-inspired cuisine, and mark the Windrush anniversary month.”

Senior youth club co-ordinator at HideOut Youth Zone, Kerin Morris, said: “It’s important young people have access to, understand, and celebrate their heritage.

“Two-thirds of HideOut’s membership is made up of young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, so it’s really important to show where these cultural influences stemmed from and for young people to ultimately feel seen.

The Manchester HipHop archive went to HideOut Youth Zone in Gorton for six weeks of events devoted to the music

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“The hip hop project has given our young people the opportunity to explore heritage in a fun and engaging way. But it’s also been an opportunity for them to understand the power young people can have and the movements they can make, which is what HideOut is all about.”

The takeover was also very much a hit with the young people themselves.

HideOut Youth Zone member Husnain Ali said: “I’ve done graffiti, breakdancing and music - the turntables. I liked everything about the project, there’s no part of it I didn’t enjoy. I’ve learnt how to scratch like a DJ – I never knew how to do that before.

“ I do think it’s important to celebrate different cultures because you learn a lot about history and where cultures are from – you learn a lot about backgrounds and gain information that helps you get involved in something.”