Hip Hop Festival w/ MC Lyte Coming to Houston to Kick Off 2 year Campaign



MCLytehat-150 HOUSTON, Texas (October 20, 2009) – This fall marks the launch of a major new initiative hosted by the UH Mitchell Center for the Arts.  Life Is Living is a national campaign that uses urban street arts to engage communities of color in conversations about environmentalism and sustainable living. 

The Mitchell Center will launch the Life Is Living initiative in Houston with a kickoff event on November 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Discovery Green (1500 McKinney Ave) in downtown Houston. Admission is free. 

The Life Is Living Houston Kickoff will feature hip-hop legend MC Lyte, a performance by artist and Life Is Living national organizer Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and a range of participatory activities for all ages, courtesy of local organizations specializing in break dancing, graffiti art, athletics, compost-driven gardening, bike repair, skate boarding and spoken-word poetry. Participating organizations include Aerosol Warfare, CKCStart Street and Urban Arts & Graffiti Research Lab, Last Organic Outpost, Workshop Houston, Project Row Houses, Youth Advocates, DiverseWorks, the UH College of Architecture, and youth slam poetry group Meta-Four Houston

Among the special guests at the event is Texas Senator Rodney Ellis. “I’m excited to join Life Is Living in the effort to create innovative ways to engage our communities in the fight to ensure a clean, green and efficient energy future,” said Senator Ellis. 

About Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Life Is Living: Houston

MarcbamuthiJoseph-225This event kicks off Joseph’s two-year residency in Houston working with residents of the Third and Fifth Wards and University of Houston students. His residency will produce Life Is Living: Houston, a one-day festival in an under-utilized neighborhood park that will feature urban arts and focus on empowering communities of color to connect with, influence and benefit from the environmental movement. Similar Life Is Living festivals have been held in Chicago, Harlem, and Oakland, California. 

At the conclusion of his stay in Houston, Joseph also will present “red, black and GREEN, a blues,” a performance incorporating hip hop, poetry, dance, film, visual art and music created from Life Is Living festivals across the country. This final performance piece will draw content from Joseph’s exploration into Houston’s Third and Fifth Wards. 

Life Is Living will also be the catalyst for a series of outreach programs in Houston, including weekly slam poetry workshops for teens in the Third and Fifth Wards, run by Meta-Four Houston. 

“Our two year initiative with Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Life Is Living celebrates hip hop as a multi-disciplinary art form,” says Mitchell Center Director Karen Farber. “Bamuthi’s work in Houston has already inspired a spirited dialogue between UH and our surrounding communities about issues that matter to us all. Life Is Living will help us sustain and enhance that dialogue.” 

Houstonians were introduced to Joseph in March 2008 during his participation with the Mitchell Center’s “Systems of Sustainability: Art, Innovation, Action” (S.O.S.) symposium where he presented a preview of “red, black and GREEN, a blues.” Its theme is centered on the idea that low income communities and communities of color can be logistically and psychologically included in the green movement. 

“I personally am of the belief that the movement for social change and environmental accountability are one and the same, and that focusing on steps to sustain the planet ultimately forces us to envision a pathway to sustaining humanity,” said Joseph.  

In the Fall of 2007, Marc Bamuthi Joseph graced the cover of Smithsonian Magazine after being named one of America’s Top Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences. He is the artistic director of the 7-part HBO documentary “Russell Simmons presents Brave New Voices” and an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, which annually recognizes 50 of the country’s “greatest living artists.” A gifted and nationally acclaimed educator and essayist, he has lectured at more than 200 colleges and universities, been a popular commentator on National Public Radio, and has carried adjunct professorships at Stanford University, Mills College, and the University of Wisconsin. Bamuthi’s proudest work has been with Youth Speaks, where he mentors 13-19 year old writers and curates the Living Word Festival for Literary Arts.   

The Life Is Living Houston Kickoff is presented with support from Discovery Green and the Houston Arts Alliance. To learn more about Life Is Living, visit www.lifeisliving.org/core. For the Kickoff event location and details, visit Discovery Green online at www.discoverygreen.com.  

Facebook updates at The Living Word Project page. Follow @lifeisliving on Twitter. 


About the Mitchell Center

  The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston cultivates interdisciplinary collaboration in the performing, visual, and literary arts.  From its base at the University of Houston, the center offers public events, residencies, and curriculum that fuse artistic disciplines, ignite dialogue, and open doors to new ways of seeing and understanding the arts and the world around us. The Mitchell Center forms an alliance among five units at the University of Houston: The School of Art, Creative Writing Program, Moores School of Music, School of Theatre and Dance, and Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston.  For more information about the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston, visit www.mitchellcenterforarts.org.

1 Comment

  1. Desmond said,

    October 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I’m noticing a trend between hip hop and the going green movements. You don’t hear alot about sustainable living in impoverished communities. I wish this event and creators the best of luck. Props on getting MC Lyte.

    DLUX THE LIGHT.com Spoken Word Emcee

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