FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Activist Hip-Hop outfit Rebel Diaz opens Latin Music night at
Celebrate Brooklyn summer series in Prospect Park on July 2.
June 18, 2009
New York- After a highly publicized run-in with NYPD a year ago today,
Latin Hip-Hop act Rebel Diaz has since toured the country and opened a
community arts center in the South Bronx. They share the stage with Grammy
winner Obie Bermudez and CuCu Diamantes at Celebrate Brooklyn on July 2.
Rebel Diaz has spent the last 12 months touring the country, sharing the stage
with the likes of Public Enemy, Common, and Q-Tip, bringing their bilingual
revolutionary rap to a rapidly growing loyal following. However,
around this time
last year, things were not looking so good for the South Bronx- based crew. In
June 2008, two thirds of Rebel Diaz found themselves in Bronx central booking
after an altercation with police. In a video that made the YouTube
rounds and led
to a Village Voice investigation of the case, Rebel Diaz members Rodstarz and
G1 are seen being thrown to the ground and manhandled by officers from the
41st precinct in the South Bronx. Having intervened to translate for
street vendor who was victim to a city health department sweep, the brothers
were violently arrested after asking for police badge numbers.
Rebel Diaz frontwoman Lah Tere, who led a protest of over 150 community
members to the precinct after the June 2008 arrests, sees a bigger picture.
“These brothers were unjustly arrested in an incident that reflects
the process of
gentrification in the South Bronx. The supposed revitalization of our community
means cleaning up the streets of those that are deemed dangerous and criminal-
undocumented immigrants and young people of color.”
A year after their arrest, the brothers still face criminal charges
and are pleading
their case in court. However, true to their lyrics of community empowerment,
Rebel Diaz’s response to the arrests has been constructive and proactive.
“Four months after the incident, we opened up the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective a
few blocks away from the very same police precinct that locked us up,” says G1.
“We will not be stopped from calling out these corrupt powers that protect only
the rich,” he adds.
RDAC, as the community center the group founded is known, sits on a desolate
industrial area in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx and houses a multimedia
studio, performance space, computer lab, and art gallery. In between local gigs
and international touring, Rebel Diaz has been facilitating the space
for use by
artists, youth, and community members, in an attempt to educate
Says Rodstarz, “The South Bronx is the birthplace of Hip Hop, but MTV Cribs
does not come here. RDAC’s mission is to preserve the elements of resistance
that are inherent to our culture.”
Rebel Diaz opens the Celebrate Brooklyn Latin music night at the Prospect Park
bandshell on July 2. Gates at 6pm
The Rebel Diaz Arts Collective