Students clapped along to performances by up-and-coming artists Osunfemi and A-Dough at the fourth annual “Rock the School Bells” event hosted by the Men of Color Community on Nov. 19.
The event, with a motto of “So we the people,” aimed to teach students about hip hop’s activist roots and the empowering nature that hip hop can have.
The event lineup consisted of DJ Vex One and Wreckanoise, along with Double Down Crew and some of De Anza College’s dancers. The event’s headliners were Osunfemi and A-Dough.
The performers talked about why they write hip-hop, and the influence it has had on them.
A-Dough talked about how writing rap at a young age helped with the struggles he went through in life and eventually led him to his current rap career.
“[I] confront the pressures of life by creating honest and transparent lyrics,” he said.
Rosa Lopez Hernandez, 19, psychology major, said she was impressed with the guest speakers and the delivery of their words.
“[They] keep you engaged,” she said. “[I] was really vibing with the music as well as the speakers.”
Students participated in workshops focused on teaching the four fundamentals of hip-hop’s cultural activities which are DJing or mixing, Breaking, MCing or rapping and graffiti, along with the metaphors they could relate to in the world.
Mario Alberto Luna, 19, history major, participated in the drumming workshop.
“[The point] was to really feel about what was being said rather than just listening to the words being spoken or looking at the speaker and just nodding along.”
As the event wound down, coordinators started asking students to reflect on performances that stood out to them the most. Later, students were asked to share a song, poem or an activity that empowers to touch back on the subject of empowerment.
The event ended with an address to counselor Umar Douglas who helped organize the event, and who will be leaving De Anza.
Erick Aragon, the faculty director of Outreach, co-coordinated Rock the School Bells and finds it very important to teach others the importance of hip hop. He believes by educating younger students on empowerment through means of hip hop, the community of underrepresented people will fight current affairs with a stronger voice.
“There is a lot of dehumanizing going on,” Aragon said, “so we’re going to need love now.”