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Hip hop festival unifies community, shares culture

Corey J. Allen | 7/27/2010, 9:12 p.m.
MC D, also known as Dakarai Washington, performed original songs and entertained the crowd at the Hip Hop 4 Life Culture Eric Esteves

The most dynamic performance came from the group B One Example, a group that uses various forms of art — from acting, break dancing, singing, rapping, photography and fine art — to express themselves.

One of the festival’s youngest patrons, Sahnan Ninti, 2, stood in amazement while he got his balloon sculpture knotted and twisted, much to the joy of his mother, Jamilah Earth.

“This event means reclaiming what hip hop culture and hip hop music really means,” said Tito Jackson, co-MC for the event and political director for Gov. Deval Patrick’s re-election campaign. “It’s family, it’s folks expressing themselves and it’s people having a voice. We may not be downtown, at a fancy theater blowing a bunch of cash, but we’re here building with one another.”

When it started to rain in the park, Jahriffe MacKenzie, a member of the Jah-N-I Roots Band, was playing the guitar and singing an original rendition of “Thin Line Between Love and Hate” that referenced Solomon and Bath-Sheba, as a young woman stood next to him holding an umbrella over his head. As he progressed in his set, the rain let up and the sun came out.

“Musicians are the healers,” said MacKenzie. “The healers are the ones that tap into the doors that no one wants to tap into. I just try to bring the light and music to touch the people’s souls.”