Cincinnati’s Elementz Hip Hop Youth Center @elementzhiphop


I had visited the Elementz Hip Hop Youth Center in Cincinnati’s Over-The-Rhine neighborhood first in 2008, and had met the young people there who were learning rap production, writing, graffiti art and hip-hop dance as part of an initiative to curb Cincinnati’s youth violence problem in the wake of the 2003 riots. Since I had last been to Elementz, the center had left its cramped headquarters on Central Parkway and moved onto Race Street further into the Over-The-Rhine. My friend Abdullah Powell, the center’s director, had told me about a beat battle at the new location, but it had ended by the time I arrived. Fortunately, some of the young people who had met me in 2008 were there, and still remembered me from that previous visit. They gave me a tour of the new three-story facility, with its state of the art furnishings and equipment, and I got a brief time to catch up with Abdullah before the building was closed and locked for the night.

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