Things are growing rapidly at
“Elementz has been blowing up, but it’s really blowing up now into our city, Cincinnati,” says Akhe Abdullah, the creative director at Elementz.
Indeed, after celebrating their seven-year anniversary in March, Elementz moved to its new location at 1100 Race St. during the first half of May.
“We had a pretty good facility [on Liberty] and it served us well for seven years, but our programs expanded over the years,” says Abdullah.
Seeing as the old venue had only one space large enough for rehearsals, dance classes and DJ workshops, the non-profit needed a larger location.
“We were looking for a way to stay in the neighborhood, but expand what we were doing,” says Abdullah. To that end, Elementz has tweaked their three programs of dance, recording and production, and DJing to fully utilize the new space.
Each program includes niches that help youth connect with and develop their craft while maintaining a level of sophistication and integrity in hip-hop and urban culture.
The dance program features several dance groups of varying ages while the DJ program boasts workshops by DJ Apryl Reign, a resident DJ of Cincinnati and one of the premiere DJs in the Midwest.
Then there is the new Stars program, an extension of the recording and production program. Though youth and artists have always frequented Elementz, many of them were more interested in rapping. “The Stars program is all of that and more. It’s drawing in hip-hop artists and R&B singers and anybody in between,” says Abdullah.
“Poets, those who play keyboard and other musical instruments. [Stars] is bringing all kinds of young people that identify with those art forms together to jam out and make songs.”
While in-center activities have certainly grown, Elementz devotes much of its attention to community outreach.
“We just wrapped up teaching rap and spoken word at a place called Children’s Home
in Kentucky,” says Abdullah.
• Save the date. Attend “Pass the Mic”
at the 20th Century in Oakley and support regional hip-hop artists.
• Join Elementz e-newsletter mailing list and donate.
• Visit the new venue at 1100 Race St. Cincinnati, Oh 45202.
By Perry Simpson