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First Night: Hundreds Pack Sonar Club for Opening Night of Antiwar Hip Hop Festival!

And this is just the beginning!

Wednesday June 8 was the launch of the first ever Hip Hop Festival Against War & Occupation and opening night was an all-out success. Thousands of posters had been put up all over the Lower Mainland and thousands of flyers had been snatched up from record stores, book stores and from the hands of those distributing them on the streets, in school and all over leading up to this momentus night.

Ndidi Cascade Warming up the Crowd!
Sonar filled up quickly with people visiting the table of MAWO antiwar materials while they waited for the show to start. UBC student organizers and MAWO organizers AJ Maclellan and Alison Bodine MC'd the show, opening by explaining why MAWO organized the festival and why it was important for us to fuse the elements of culture, art and resistance as we organize to inspire, connect with others and to build an effective antiwar movement. Then, the long list of antiwar MCs and vocalists moved in and dominated the space for the next 4 hours with messages of resistance and solidarity from a broad range of communities and backgrounds.

Solidarity and powerful rhymes resonated from the stage from latino MC Pablucci, Oso and crew Platino Latino Productions. Haitian-Canadian MC Ndidi Cascade brought a message of women's solidarity and power and got everybody up and moving. Indigenous MCs Os 12 and Manik 1derful explained their perspective of the Canadian colonial state, settling stolen land and murdering hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people to found the state of Canada. Os closed his talk by stating that until Indigenous land is free and Indigenous people regain their self-determination, none of us are free. Finally, near the close of the evening, the long-awaited Signia took to the stage with Punjabi-influenced hip hop and took time between songs to explain their own connection to and appreciation of antiwar organizing, calling on all to respect our brothers and sisters in all oppressed nations and to unite with them in their struggles. And this is only a part of the talent that took the stage last night - we can't forget Gemineye, the youth-crew Tapwater, Syck Sense, DJs Ted and Dani B and Jer Bear, the first lady of hip hop who made a surprise guest appearance.

Sunday Skool Dropoutz
Thousands of programs for the rest of the week were distributed as the crowd flooded into the night, pumped and ready for day two. MAWO's Hip Hop Festival Against War & Occupation continues tonight at El Cocal for the "Stop the War Abroad! Stop the War at Home!" show featuring Illa Brown, Sunday School Dropoutz, Okalani, Influents, Chadio with Azreal, Dj Excede. Over 25 more artists from diverse backgrounds remain to perform over the remaining 4 days of the festival as it travels to Burnaby's Edmonds Community Center and back to East Van for the all-day blowout, "All People's, All Day for the Self Determination of All Oppressed Nations!" - the all-day show in Grandview Park on Commercial Drive. The festival is closing with the forum "Hip Hop as a Weapon Against War & Occupation" featuring hip hop MCs and antiwar organizers speaking on the rise of hip hop as an international phenomenon connecting resistance cultures and people in struggle all across the globe. The forum will also speak on the importance of the rise of hip hop as the protest music of today and its role in building an effective global movement against the era of imperialist war and occupation. All remaining shows and events are all ages, for all people opposed to war and occupation and all are encouraged to come out, participate and enjoy the hip hop festival against war and occupation!

Internationally Reknowned Signia