On November 29th, 1958, Maria Elena Moyano was born to parents Dona Eugenia Delgado Cabrera and Don Hermógenes Moyano Lescano in the district of Barranco, Lima, Peru. As a teen she became a community activist and a member of a youth movement for freedom in Villa El Salador, Peru called Movimiento de Jóvenes Pobladores or Fepomuves. She was elected as president of the Federación Popular de Mujeres de Villa El Salador a women’s coalition located in the municipality of Villa El Salador, Peru. The programs Fepomuves offered their community rivaled those of the Original Black Panther Party; they offered public soup kitchens, health initiatives, programs that provided milk for the local children, education committees, and projects that helped to generate income. Moyano was a firm believer that the soup kitchens helped to support the community and expose their horrible conditions. She resigned as president of Fepomuves in 1990 and was next elected as deputy mayor of Villa El Salador; her huaband Gustavo encouraged her to study sociology at Garcilaso de la Vega University.
Abimael Guzman Reynoso became Moyano’s rival, Reynoso’s organization The Shining Path was attempting to gain control of the poor neighborhoods of Lima, Peru; they viewed the community organizations as enemies and sought to eliminate them. Members of The Shining Path blew up a distribution center and blamed Moyano for the bomb attempting to eliminate her. The Shining Path was on a mission to spark a revolution in Peru to destroy its government, they also disagreed with the social programs the community organizations provided to the poor people. The Shining Path’s first strike against the Peruvian government resulted in over 30,000 casualties of innocent people who supported the Peruvian government or military. The people of Peru were living in fear because they were terrorized daily by The Shining Path. The women of Peru chose to take a stand and organize against The Shining Path, but they were attacked and raped, by both The Shining Path and the Peruvian military. The Shining Path’s goal was to shut down any thoughts of creating programs to help the poor people of Peru.
The founder of the Shining Path Abimael Guzman Reynoso was captured by the Peruvian military in 1992, the military was under the control of Alberto Fujimori who suspended the constitution of Peru and dissolved their congress. The Shining Path viewed Moyano as an enemy and a poor leader of the people; she labeled them as terrorist because of their maltreatment of their people. She not only used her voice and resources to confront and expose The Shining Path but the local police also experienced her wrath because of the violence they inflicted upon the people. Moyano’s named was being slandered by The Shining Path via a pamphlet they used as propaganda, she countered them by stating that she would never turn her back on and destroy what she built to uplift the people. February 15, 1992 Maria Moyano was assassinated by The Shining Path’s guerrilla forces, she was one of many women revolutionaries who was murdered by The Shining Path. Maria Antenati Hilario, Margarita Astride de la Cruz and Juana Lopez were three other important women murdered because of helping the people of Peru revolt against The Shining Path. A memorial was erected in honor of Moyano and shortly after her death Abimael Guzman Reynoso was arrested and The Shining Path fell as an organization. Moyano like many others are often seen as enemies of the state because they fight for the freedom of their people, often death may be their penalty, but they refused to become comfortable being oppressed. Moyano was a woman of Afro-Peruvian descent that recognized her people were devalued and often mistreated and murdered. She did not allow fear to cripple her; she and other women of Peru took action to preserve their human rights. Ms. Maria Elena Moyano, we proudly stand on your shoulders.
April 16th, 1955 Clive Campbell was born in Kingston, Jamaica to parents Keith and Nettie Campbell. Clive was exposed to Jamaican Dance Hall music and toasting as a child. Toasting is the act of the Jamaican Dance Hall Selectors (the equivalent to Hip Hop DJ’s) rapping or engaging into call and response with the crowd. These early influences would help to set a piece of the foundation of what we call Hip Hop today. In 1967 the Campbell family immigrated to the United States seeking better opportunities for their children, they settled in the Bronx, New York at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, which would become the birthplace of Hip Hop. During the 1960’s the Bronx experienced the fall out of the construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway which displaced thousands of families opening the door for poverty, crime and gang culture. The Bronx also experienced “white flight” as property values dropped and landlords resulted to burning their buildings and collecting the insurance money. Campbell attended Alfred E. Smith High School and was known to spend most of his time in the schools weight room. Over time he would grow to be known as “Hercules” because of his towering stature over the other teens around him.
Campbell would begin a graffiti crew called the Ex-Vandals where he would take the name that history would remember him by “ Kool Herc.” He always had a love for music and would often host parties with his sister Cindy in the recreation room of their building located at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue. Campbell owned a collection of records he would play at his parties that included James Brown’s “Sex Machine”, “Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose”, Booker T & the MG’s’ “Melting Pot”, and music by the Ohio Players; but his main influence was the Jamaican Dance Hall music. Campbell’s fortunes changed when his father brought him a “Vocal Master” PA system with two turntables and two amplifiers. A readymade audience of young people who hated disco and commercial radio and were looking for somewhere they can have fun and escape the poverty for a while. August 11th, 1973 Campbell’s sister Cindy asked him to play music at her party, this party turned out to be one of if not, the first Hip Hop party ever. We do know that Hip Hop started at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue due to the particular style Campbell would present his music.
As I stated earlier Hip Hop has its roots in Jamaican dance hall music as well as many other music genres; the dance hall deejay’s would use a technique called the “merry go round” which Campbell adopted, where they would find the “break” in a song, isolate the break using two records of the same song, switching from break to break as each break would end, which would extend the break from a thirty second to or minute part of a song to a five minute instrumental dancers could dance to. The “break” is the instrumental portion of the song that would be included into songs to inspire listeners to dance to the song. Campbell was known for including songs within his routine such as James Brown’s “Give It Up or Turnit a Loose”, “Bongo Rock” by The Incredible Bongo Band and “The Mexican by the English rock. He was also known for helping to develop what we know of as rapping by using the “toasting” technique which is the call and response. Extending the break also gave birth to breakdancing, B-Boys and B-Girls. With the elements of the DJ, the call and response or the prototype of the emcee, the break dancers and the graffiti artist, Hip Hop was born and the young people of the South Bronx had a culture to call their own. Campbell’s reputation grew as big as his stature, eventually he was playing his music and introducing Hip Hop throughout the Bronx and New York.
Campbell formed a group to perform at parties named the Herculords that consisted of Coke LA Rock his emcee and is often said to be recognized as the first emcee or rapper, Clark Kent as well and his dancers The Nigga Twins. The Herculords were known for their style of music and sheer volume at which they would play their music. With Campbell laying the foundation for Hip Hop it opened the doors for other pioneers such as Grand Master Flash and Afraka Baambaata to take the music style and improve on it. Grand Master Flash was the first to take the djing techniques created by Campbell and then use the turntables as if they were instruments. The birth of Hip Hop helped to alleviate the growing street gang issues in the Bronx, the young people now had another outlet to channel their energy. Hip Hop would be transformed from something thought of as a crazy music phase troubled kids created, to a worldwide cultural phenomena that is one of the most influential art forms ever.
The recording of “Rappers Delight” in 1979 helped to propel Hip Hop into the future and on the music charts forever, but we must know the origins of this thing we hold so dearly to our hearts. Hip Hop is the music of the oppressed, the impoverished, it is the voice of the voiceless and the heart of streets. It was born out of struggle as an instrument to heal, escape and eventually empower its listeners. Clive Campbell was a musical visionary who helped change the course of not only American music history but the history of music worldwide. He used his imagination, early dance hall influences and creativity to create Hip Hop. August 11th, 1973 Hip Hop was born at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, New York. Clive Campbell aka DJ Kool Herc, we proudly stand on your shoulders.
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