Sha Rock of the Funky 4 + 1 and Grandmaster Melle Mel & Scorpio of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 performed at the fifth anniversary of the 'I Am Hip-Hop' dance show at Richmond, Virginia's Maggie L. Walker Governor's School on Friday (4/21), and Rock The Bells was in the house to cover the evening's events.
I Am Hip-Hop is sponsored by Richmond Urban Dance (RUD) — a top notch street dance training facility and nonprofit organization with a heavy focus on outreach and one of Richmond's most diverse dance company's and THE HOUSE, a venue and event space that hosts RUD.
This year's event was a timeline of Hip-Hop music that started at its roots and brought us to current day all expressed through dance and broken down by decade. The show's opener was first female MC of Hip-Hop culture Sha Rock of the Funky 4 and the Funky 4 + 1 and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees and Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipients Grandmaster Melle Mel and Scorpio of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5.
Sha Rock opened the show with a crew of young dancers who helped her hype the audience with crowd participation and rhymes. Grandmaster Melle Mel and Scorpio performed their breakout hit "Freedom" before being joined by Sha Rock for their groundbreaking hit "The Message."
The audience, composed of all races and ages responded to the performances with thunderous applause, prompting Scorpio to declare the performance "one of their best."
This was great. No matter the skill level of the dancers, all of them performed with passion and that is what matters!
- Grandmaster Melle Mel
THE HOUSE owner Kate Stark who sponsored the Hip-Hop legends with the help of promoter Van Silk of Rapamania described the event to Rock The Bells as a Hip-Hop musical.
"It goes through the decades of Hip-Hop and it's a spectacular show," she said. "So much diversity, talent and joy. In essence it's a Hip-Hop musical." She continued, "It was such an honor to have three of the pioneers of Hip-Hop not only perform at our event but to then watch and appreciate the hard work and talent leaves me speechless. This would not have been possible without RUD and its founder Mandy Helmlinger and creative directors Jasmine McKenzie, Faith Helmlinger and Samantha Jenkins and their tireless contributions to the success of the show."