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'Hip-Hop Is Multifaceted' - Aurora Hip-Hop Festival Is Back


The festival didn't happen last year, due to the pandemic.

An Aurora hip-hop festival is returning to the city this Sunday, Sept. 26, but a different spin was taken in the planning of the event.

This is the seventh year for “On the Wall” Hip-Hop Festival. It is normally hosted by the Latinx hip-hop group, Them Bad Apples and the nonprofit organization Culture Stock. This year the hip-hop group, P.O.B.U.M.S. Society was brought on board as well.

Nicole Mullins is the board president for Culture Stock. She said the Black hip-hip group was recruited to help bring more people, from the Black community to the festival.

“Especially with hip-hop culture, it was originated by members of the Black community,” Mullins said. “And it's not that there are not Black hip-hop artists in our community. It's not that there's not Black hip-hop crews in our community. And so why, don't they have a voice at the table in planning the festival?”

Mullins said past festivals have attracted mostly those from the Latinx community.

Brandy Gilliam is one of the founding members of P.O.B.U.M.S. Society. He said some hip-hop events are not inclusive.

"So like we're trying to break down all of the walls and barriers because hip-hop is multifaceted and it brings together people of all races," he said.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of an Aurora mural that no longer exists.

“Now it is a community garden," Mullins said. "But prior to that it was home to this huge ‘Grim Reaper’ mural that a lot of people who grew up in Aurora in the 90s, remember.”

The image will be recreated during the festival. Sam Cervantes of Them Bad Apples, created the original mural. The real name for it was “THINK” but the community gave it the “Grim Reaper” nickname.

The event will also include a wing-mural project for children.

The free family-friendly event will include live graffiti art, music performances, breakdancing and more. It takes place Sunday, Sept. 26 from noon to 7 p.m. at 225 Middle Ave. in Aurora.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.