HIP-HOP Culture: Q&A with Cory Stowers, Art Director for Words Beats & Life inc.
Cory Stowers is the Art Director for WORDS BEATS AND LIFE inc. and the Words Beats and Life Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture. He also teaches graffiti and mural classes for Words Beats and Life in the D.C. Urban Arts Academy. Find out what he is working on and what's bubblin' up in The L.A.B.!
Q: What is Words Beats & Life Inc., and what is it's mission?
A: Words Beats & Life Inc. is a Washington DC based non-profit organization whose mission is to "Transform individual lives and whole communities through the teaching, convening and presenting of hip-hop culture".
Q: We ran into in you in Blagden Alley while artist, COBY KENNEDY, was painting 1 of the 6 murals WBL has produced through the "Murals DC Program" please tell us more about this program and your affiliation with Mr. Kennedy.
A: Murals DC is a public art program started four years ago by Council Member Jim Graham in order to combat illegal graffiti in the city. The focus of this program is to create legal public art creation opportunities to encourage more youth to participate in the creation of legal public art.
I have known Coby for a number of years, he is an extremely dynamic artist, he has been coming back to DC more often and we are looking forward to doing more projects together in future.
Q: We understand Words Beats & Life Inc. offers classes. Give us an idea of what types of classes are offered and what the age range of the average student is please.
A: WBL runs a multi-site after-school program called the DC Urban Arts Academy, at the academy we teach the core elements of hip-hop culture. Djing, Emceeing, B-Boying and Graffiti. In addition, Music Production and Digital Photography are offered. These classes run throughout the week free of charge, to students ages 5-23. We have campuses in Northwest, South east and Northeast.
Q: You mentioned that local hip hop & graffiti artists are involved in teaching who are they and what do they teach?
A: WBL has for a number of years worked within the local hip-hop community many of our instructors are practicing artist in their particular craft who are known for their talents, DJ R.B.I. and B-Boy T.O.Y.Z. to name a few.
Q: You have a 6 day teach-in running November 16-21 called, "Remixing The Art of Social Change: A Hip-Hop Approach - International Teach-In". Sounds amazing! Can you tell us what participants can look forward to and where this is happening.
A: Each year WBL convenes its teach-in as a way for artist, organizations, academics, and those involved with the hip-hop education movement to gather for a week of capacity building and presentations that reflect the current state of the field. The goal of the teach-in is promote cross organizational collaboration, to establish promising practices and to celebrate the best contributors to our field.
Q: For those interested in donating to your non-profit, how and where may they do so?
A: They can visit our web site http://www.wblinc.org or mail your donation to 1525 Newton Street NW DC 20010 ATTN: Words Beats & Life Inc.
Q: Cory, you are a Musician and Graffiti artist in your own right, please tell us about The L.A.B. and your new release as well as the upcoming Anniversary Gallery Show you have coming up.
A: The L.A.B. is the vocal arm of the 2DK L.A.B. a hip-hop artist guild I co-founded in 1994. The L.A.B. released our first full length album in February of this year titled On The Home Front, and we have a new song we are spreading around titled My New Balance Be Like That, which is an ode to the sneaker of choice for the DMV.
The 2DK L.A.B will celebrate its 16th anniversary with a gallery show titled 26 Weapons, which will open November 20th in conjunction with WBL's week long teach-in. This show will feature work by 2DK L.A.B. members, and will be dedicated to the theme of individual letter studies.
Q: Name the 5 songs & artists that are looping on your play list right now.
A: - The L.A.B. - My New Balance Be Like That- Remix by BuBu the Producer (lol, but it is the truth)
- Adele - Cold Shoulder
- Courtney Dowe - On The Rise
- Kokayi - DCB
- Head-Roc/ Infinite Loop - Nations Cap
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