SAT. SEPT 10, 8PM | “The Business of Music from Jazz to Hip Hop” with Kymone Freeman (Co-Founder, We
Flex Mathews has tour and performed with: Lupe Fiasco,Army of Me,Atmosphere,KRS-One(Twice),Big Daddy Kane, Gang Starr,Biz Markie,Das EFX, The Wu-Tang Clan,Special Ed, Non-Phixion, The Beatnuts, MC Chris, The Clipse ,Roc Radia, Pete Rock, Talib Kweli (twice), Slick Rick, Killah Priest, The Roots, Yazarah, ImmortalTechnique, Bahmadia, Copy Write, Icon The Mic King, C-Rays Wallz, Mr.Lif Cannibal Ox, and even Vanilla Ice. In 2005 Flex Mathews was thetake was part of the entertainment portion Take Back America Campaign warming the stage for such great like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry, and more. He has also made appearances on the 2004 and 2005 Vans Warped Tour on the Code of the Cuts Stage.
Papi Kymone Freeman (guerrilla artist) is the director of the National Black LUV Festival recognized as a Washington, D.C. Mayor’s Art Award Finalist for Excellence in Service to the Arts in 2006 and received a Mayoral Proclamation in 2007. est. 1997 NBLF has since become the largest annual AIDS mobilization in WDC. Freeman has appeared along side Mark Twain and Harriet Tubman in newspapers and subway cars throughout WDC metro area as a Clinical AIDS Vaccine Trial Participant and NIH “Everyday Heroes” Ad Campaign Model to bring attention to this pandemic. Freeman is a founding board member for Words Beats & Life, a Hip Hop Non-Profit and co-founder of Bum Rush the Boards the largest annual youth chess competition in WDC. He is the subject of one chapter of the book Beat of A Different Drum: The Untold Stories of African Americans Forging Their Own Paths in Work and Life (Hyperion). He has authored a collection of poetry entitled Blood.Sweat.Tears.
His dedication to art and activism lead him to accept the position of NYC spokesperson and official poet of the anti-war independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader during his campaign in ’04. A scholarship received from American Friends Service Committee to spend the summer in Nairobi, Kenya for an international leadership conference resulted in him returning to the states as a playwright. He received the 22nd Annual Larry Neal Award for Drama for the successful play Prison Poetry that has appeared at the Historic Lincoln Theatre and Source Theatre during the Hip Hop Theatre Festival, THEARC Theatre, Oak Hill Juvenile Detention Facility and several college campuses where his work has been included in the Black History curriculum of Maryland’s Easternshore. He has conducted production workshops at the National Black Theatre Festival and Institute of Policy Studies.
His second stageplay was commissioned by Jive Recording Artist Raheem DeVaughn entitled the Love Experience. He has studied under the legendary independent filmmakers Haile Gerima, Raoul Peck and Sam Greenlee. Freeman’s second screenplay Nineveh: a conflict over water a futuristic drama that paints a post-oil depleted world has been produced as a short film and is pursuing a feature length release.
He is currently Program Director of We ACT Radio 1480 AM DC’s new progressive radio station.
Tyleah Hawkins is a 2015 graduate of the illustrious Howard University holding a Bachelor’s degree in broadcast news and a minor in theatre arts. Since graduating, she has studied at the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford program in association with Yale School of Drama, co-founded and incorporated a soon-to-be nonprofit, works as an in studio producer at Sirius XM radio, created and co-hosts a radio show called Unapologetic Queens and co-hosts the HBCU Wall Street Podcast. Her passions include theatre, traveling, mentoring and youth empowerment. She has performed in several vocal ensembles, dance troupes, cabarets and one act plays and has been cast in Hairspray, Once on this Island, All Shook Up, Crazy for You, The Crucible, Our Town, The Wiz, Anne of Green Gables (Upper Darby Performing Arts Center).
The post-show discussion featured Kymone Freeman (We Act Radio), Flex Mathews (hip-hop artist), Tyleah Hawkins (Mosaic Theater) and was moderated by Ari Roth, Mosaic Theater Outreach Coordinator.
Each of the discussants/artist discussed there own challenges of being able to produce art and have a political message while in a dominant white culture, especially in relation to the business aspects. Flex Mathews also shared how he related to Armstrong as he too finds himself performing for mostly white audiences.
The group also talked about the recent protests by NFL players and their efforts to bring attention to the injustices facing black America, just as Louis Armstrong did when he spoke out against the lack of action taken by President Eisenhower in relation to the Little Rock Nine in 1957.