SLaMFête Wraps up African Heritage Month in Vancouver

A weekend of spoken word, hip-hop and theatre gives voice to intercultural youth.

Credit: Urban Ink

SlamFete director Diane Roberts

SlamFete director Diane Roberts

A weekend of spoken word, hip-hop and theatre gives voice to Vancouver’s intercultural youth


Hip-hop, spoken word and theatre are the voices of SLaMFête 2011. Provoking thought and inspiring discussion over three days, the weekend will be divided into three intercultural events—a theatrical reading, poetry slam and hip-hop workshop.


Marking the final weekend of Black History Month, Vancouver’s Urban Ink Productions celebrates black heritage and contemporary youth culture from Friday, February 25 to Sunday, February 27, 2011, at Ironworks Studio, located at 235 Alexander Street.


Birth of SLaMFête

Two years ago, Urban Ink created CrossRoads Slam!, an open-mic competition for traditional slam poets to hop up on stage and recite their work. Organizers found that people were more interested in collaboration and sharing the stage than in competition. With this theme of collaboration in mind, Urban Ink has transformed the one-day CrossRoads Slam! into a three-day celebration of the roots and history of slam, spoken word and hip-hop that is bound to explode into one big, happy weekend dance party.


Sal Capone – Friday, February 25, 7 p.m., Ironworks Studio

A hip-hop-style theatrical reading of Sal Capone kicks off the SLaMFête weekend. The play, written by Vancouver-based actor Omari Newton, deals with issues of racial violence, complex relationships between culturally marginalized youth and the police, and the rage often suppressed by these “forgotten” youth. 


Omari Newton works primarily as an actor, as well as a spoken word and hip-hop artist. This is his first play. Sal Capone draws off his experience witnessing the shooting of a young black youth in Montreal in 2005.


Tickets are $10 and are available at the door at Ironworks Studio (235 Alexander Street).


CrossRoads Slam! – Saturday, February 26, 8 p.m., Ironworks Studio

The main stage event of the weekend, CrossRoads Slam! celebrates the black roots of hip-hop, examining the stages of hip-hop and slam culture through time.


The evening features seven Vancouver artists

Scruff Mouth, Ostwelve, Kia Kadiri, Omari Newton, DJ Mana, Rup Sidhu and Nadia Cheney (BPM), Mia Amir, David Morin (11th Hour Orchestra), Chris Premph and Mutya Macatumpag.


Tickets are $20 and are available at the door at Ironworks Studio (235 Alexander Street).



Bold Skool Hip Hop Workshop – Sunday, February 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Ironworks Studio

In this full day of hip hop, the workshop draws on the themes explored during Friday’s reading of Sal Capone and looks at ways in which hip hop culture can be used for social change.


Five professional BC-based hip hop artists will conduct workshops on “MCing” (spoken, rhythmic, poetic word); “B-boying” (break dancing); “DJing” (scratching and sampling break beats); and “Beat boxing” (vocal percussion). At the end of the day, workshop participants will perform their original work for an audience.


Tickets are $10 and are available at the door of Ironworks Studio. Open to all, financial assistance is available. Contact admin AT for details. The public is welcome to attend the performance portion starting at 4 p.m., admission by donation.