NORTH LAWNDALE — The Firehouse Community Arts Center of Chicago is hosting its 16th annual Firefest Hip Hop Block Party in North Lawndale.
The party will be noon-9 p.m. Saturday at 2111 S. Hamlin Ave. The event will have food, music, yoga, basketball tournaments, graffiti art, breakdance and footwork dancing, game trucks, bouncy houses and a performance from Bay Area rapper LaRussell.
The free event, hosted by Pastor Phil Jackson, founder of the Firehouse Community Arts Center, aims to promote safety and prevent gun violence in North Lawndale.
Born and raised on the West Side, Jackson said he uses hip hop as a guiding influence to encourage young men in the community to live a more peaceful life.
Jackson, an avid hip hop fan and friend to hip hop icons such as KRS-One and Kurtis Blow, said he believes the genre can uplift and educate the community while giving people a sense of healing, motivation and strength.
“Our block party has always elevated hip hop as an artist tool towards transformation in the lives of our community,” Jackson said. “Young people helped organize the flow of this. We wanted to bring fun to the community the way hip hop traditionally does.”
The Firehouse Community Art Center sprung from a youth and young adult hip hop worship service Jackson hosted in 2003 in North Lawndale. The center officially launched as a nonprofit in 2006 and purchased a 100-year-old firehouse in North Lawndale a year later.
The center offers year-round, multi-disciplinary cultural arts programming, mentorship, and workforce development to prevent violence in the neighborhood.
Those wishing to attend the Firefest Hip Hop Block Party can sign up here.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: