Celeste Smith wants people to know hip-hop has always been alive in Pittsburgh, whether people have seen it or not.
Smith is the CEO of 1Hood Media, a collective of socially conscious hip-hop artists and activists.
On Thursday and Friday, the group will showcase that culture with its second annual 1Hood Day event. Singers, emcees, poets, b-boys and visual artists will come together to share performances and promote unity between Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods.
Smith said the event reflects the city’s evolving hip-hop culture.
“In the Pittsburgh hip-hop community, we’re seeing more of a focus on the social justice piece of performance,” Smith said. “The way it’s impacting almost everybody’s lives, you can’t get around social justice, no matter where you stand.”
Hip-hop has been around for more than four decades and is an extremely intergenerational culture in the city, Smith said. But she said it used to have a more specific home.
Many clubs which once played a role in creating unique communities like East Liberty have been shut down, she said. Smith said gentrification also displaced many artists.
“So the presence I think is growing, but hip-hop ain’t never left, it’s always been there, it’s just not necessarily had the platform,” Smith said.
Smith said she hopes 1Hood Day will help change that.
Thursday’s events at Repair the World on Broad Street starting at 5 p.m., will focus on younger performers.
Friday’s outdoor events will take place at Garland Park, also known as AR3 Park in East Liberty. National headliners include rapper David Banner, poet Jessica Care Moore and Pittsburgh’s Jasiri X.
All events are all-ages, and pay what you can.
Funding for the event was provided by the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh program, which is a partnership of the Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments.