The Universal Hip Hop Parade for Social Justice Returns to Bed Stuy Saturday

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A combination Marcus Garvey birthday party and a celebration of hip hop, the Universal Hip Hop Parade for Social Justice returns to Bed Stuy August 15 for its 14th year, after a one-year hiatus. Formed in 2000 by a group of African American cultural and social activists, the parade covers all aspects of traditional hip hop, as well as other forms of artistic expression in the African American community.

This year’s parade will include steel pan drum bands and marching bands, including the P.S. 137’s The Soul Tigers, cofounder Jeffery Kazembe Batts told Bed Stuy’s Community Board 3 in June. Past parades have included everything from motorcycle and van clubs and stilt walkers to break dancers and graffiti displays.

This year’s theme is “Build the Biz,” to highlight the need for economic development in the African diaspora. Local businesses are encouraged to march in the parade, which will spotlight businesses along the parade route and bring attention to black owned businesses globally.

The annual family friendly event, held the Saturday before Jamaican politician and Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey’s 128th birthday (he died in 1940), is meant to remind the community that music and culture can be tools of empowerment, the website says.

The parade route will begin on Lafayette Avenue at 3 pm, traveling up the avenue and then along Marcus Garvey Boulevard, down Fulton Street, and ending on Bedford Avenue, “at the Slave Theater,” Batts said. (The Afrocentric Slave Theater, now closed, is a well-known landmark in Brooklyn’s black community.) For more information, click here.

Images via Universal Hip Hop Parade for Social Justice

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