Fresno youth get L.O.U.D. at City


Photo by: Ram Reyes

Fashawn performing during the L.O.U.D. event at Fresno City College on Friday, September 19, 2016.

Fresno youth packed the college courtyards inside the Old Administration Building on Sept. 9 for an event showcasing live art, music, dance and tacos.

The L.O.U.D or “Living Our Unchained Dreams” event was hosted by local The “kNOw” Youth Media and multimedia collective Dulce Upfront and was the idea of The “kNOw’s” statewide coordinator, Tim Haydock.

“Everybody just really appreciated the space it would give the young people of Fresno,”  Kody Stoebig, program manager and editor of “kNOw,” said.

The celebration was opened by Yoztaltepetl, a dance group which performed an Aztec blessing.

“We do the cardinal points, then [the elements] which mother earth provides us with everything that we need to live,” said group founder and teacher, Gloria Guerrero.

The group was founded 18 years ago in Clovis.

“When we’re honoring the north, we honor our ancestors and generations before us,” Guerrero said. “The south (is) for the children and to symbolize the future. East honors the men and warriors who are our protectors, and the west honors women and mothers.”

Singer Kasey Tate delivered a strong performance near the end of the show, singing only one song about current events in America around the black community.

Tate’s lyrics included statements such as, “All we ever did was be black…I just want to feel human again.”

Special guest, Fashawn, headlined the L.O.U.D. event. The Fresno rapper had hosted workshops at The “kNOw” to help young artists refine their talents to showcase at L.O.U.D.

Fashawn is signed to rapper Nas’ recording label. He performed “Mother Amerikkka” for the first time at the event.

The song reflects on pop culture and recent events about cops and government.

Fresno’s youth “got to work with Fashawn; we got to have a really good experience with him,” said Zayanna Maynard, Edison High School senior, who performed poetry and is a youth reporter at The “kNOw”.  “He taught us things we didn’t know how to do.”

Maynard said, “He showed us things that we, as writers and rappers, should know by now.”

Fashawn shared with the youth group a variety of ways other artists succeed, teaching poets to write bars, and rappers to write stanzas..

“These stories are really young people’s lives in Fresno, what Fresno is to them (and) things they have gone through or happened to them (and) how they see the world,” Stoebig said.

“It was left open to however they wanted to express themselves,” Stoebig added.  “And that is what the beauty of this is.”