Hip-Hop isn’t just about music. It was once about the community. In the South Bronx, where Hip-Hop was first created, lies Rebel Diaz Arts Collective-BX, a Hip-Hop community Center. Last week the doors were shut to the community center after a dispute with the building’s owner. AllHipHop.com sat down with up and coming artist YC The Cynic, who is a member of RDACBX community. YC talks the organization’s eviction and what the collaborative is going to do now.
AllHipHop.com: Thanks YC for sitting down with us. You are a product of the Bronx, and you have really strong ties to both Rebel Diaz and the RDACBX, what did the RDAC mean to you personally?
YC The Cynic: As an organization, the RDACBX is something I’ve been a part of since the beginning, as a teenager. It means everything to me. It’s a family. It’s a way to be the change that we want to see. It’s a way to give back, which to me, is one of the most essential parts of our existence. To live, learn, and share. I’m glad we can continue that. As a space, it was so many memories. That’s the sad part. We spent many a morning, afternoon, and night there creating art, teaching and being taught, and sometimes just thinking of a master plan. The space was a safe haven for me, and so many others. I saw it go from dust, to a beautiful collection of art, and now back to dust.
Man, the loss must be rough. Okay so, what happened from your perspective?
Well, its a combination of things. The landlord made it very clear that he had no interest in a community center. He literally said “I’m a businessman.” He never respected the work that we did, the people we affected, the press we brought to a piece of land that he abandoned in the first place. He never saw the beauty in the murals we put inside of our spot and on the roof. Instead, he blamed us for ALL of the graffiti in the neighborhood. it’s the Bronx!
You also can’t look past the fact that gentrification is literally here, now! There is a 16-story luxury condominium being built right around the corner from the space, so the property value is quickly rising, while the value of culture is quickly falling. That’s music to a “businessman’s” ears.
Wow! Well, how have the kids that attended classes and workshops etc at the RDAC been reacting?
It’s been a lot of love, sadness, and uncertainty. Of course, everyone wants to know what’s going to happen next. But they’re with us 100%. The amount of support is insane. We held our open mic right outside the space, and so many people came out!
What would you like people to know about the situation in total?
I want people to know that we’re not going to stop. That was just one space. We didn’t walk into it 5 years ago and start recording and having workshops in the media center. It was abandoned. There was nothing. All of that was built. The RDAC-BX is the people. The 20 (over 20) members and the community. Not that one physical space. We can and will do it again in another place. But better!
Do you see a resolution for the group and do you think there will be another community center anytime soon?
Nothing is changing but the address! (laughs). We’re still meeting weekly, we’re still planning events and workshops, and we’re still standing by our beliefs. There will definitely be another community center. Our focus is making is better than the last. Onward and upward.
How can people show support?
People can show support by turning on their webcam, and recording an “I Am RDAC” video. Tell us what RDAC means to your, your favorite RDAC memory, or just your thoughts, and say “I Am RDAC at the end. Upload it to Facebook and tag the RDACBX community page. We have to let the people know the community will support what’s important. You can also donate, which will help secure another space, get materials for workshops, or make events/workshops better. You can do that at RDACBX.org. Click the donate button on the left side of the screen.
If you guys want to help, there it is! You can easily show your support for a bunch of young guys and girls doing all they can to make a difference!