Annual African-American Music Festival links academia and music

D. Aja Franks

Grammy nominated hip-hop artist Yo Yo, jazz-musician Washington Rucker, spoken-word artist LaFemme Cerole and hip-hop artist High Post collaborated for the 13th Annual African-American Music Festival, Monday, March 19 through Saturday, March 24, on campus.Student organization, A2MA, sponsored 375 elementary, middle and high school age students from King Drew Magnet, Cimarron Elementary and Robert Fulton College Preparatory to participate in the music festival.

Yo Yo taught her Yo Yo’s School of Hip-Hop, which instructed students on the fundamentals and art of hip-hop music and hip-hop dance.

A2MA president and CSUN student, Brittany Hamilton, said “Yo Yo’s School of Hip-hop was great.  The kids had such an amazing time.”

Ilu Johnson, the festival’s emcee, maintained the high-energy momentum.

He said, “Overall the event was extremely successful. Students really enjoyed the music.”

Following Yo Yo’s School of Hip-hop Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity member, choreographer and CSUN student, Vernon Jackson, taught students the history and principles of stepping.

During Robert Fulton Preparatory, which has participated in the music festival for the past six years, taught the students an in-depth stepping routine paired with a Fulton Preparatory school-spirited chant.

“My students are in love with stepping now,” said Lisa Cynkin-Hardy, Fulton Preparatory career counselor and advisor. “The Festival makes a difference in my students’ lives.  It restores hope and builds their confidence.  Fifty percent of our seniors will be attending college this fall, the festival gives them something to look forward to and be excited about.”

The motivation for the bringing an African-American Music Festival to CSUN was when Janet Broadous, aluma and daughter of A2MA advisor Deboarkh Broadous, attended Grambling State University, a historically black four-year university, on an exchange program.

There she experienced an African-American Music Festival, and decided to create one at CSUN.

“I work the festival every year in Jan?t Broadous’ honor.  Broadus, who succumbed to cancer at 26-years-old, vision is being fulfilled every year with the African-American Music Festival,” Winbush said.