Ecstatic hip hop echoed of the slopes of Beacon Hill yesterday evening as a group of precocious youth held the first annual “Beautify the Block” community block party at Rainier Vista.
It was an honor and a thrill to attend this event created by the awesome 6-to-11-year-olds who go by the names G.O.O.D. (Girls Out here Opening Doors) Girls and B.A.D. (Build and Develop) Boyz.
These brilliant kids are students of Jamil Suleman, at an after-school program run by the Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA). Suleman and his collaborator Yasmin Habib of the World Mind Creation Academy definitely know how to inspire their students, who are mostly the children of refugees and immigrants who live in the South End.
The event was organized to address youth violence in the area and bring the local community together through art, with performances from locals Nikkita Oliver, Spekulation, Poalo Escobar, Raz Simone and of course Jamil Suleman himself.
The kids were up on stage facilitating the whole thing, which drew crowds from around the neighborhood and around the city, including District 2 City Council candidates Bruce Harrell and Tammy Morales and included music, food, henna artists, and a youth talent show.
At that age, I was too awkward and nervous to even raise my hand in the classroom. But the B.A.D. Boyz and G.O.O.D. Girls were full of energy and comfortable on stage telling jokes. With a combination of passion and preparation they delivered an energetic atmosphere for the audience throughout the evening.
Check out these photos if you missed it:
This post has been updated since it was first published.