For more than 10 years, Northwest Folklife has chosen a Northwest community to showcase as its “Cultural Focus” leading up to and at its signature festival event. This year the spotlight will be on the cross-cultural roots of Hip Hop in the area.
In an interview with CityArts, programs director Kelli Faryar said she couldn’t put together a Hip Hop program by herself – dropping names like 206 Zulu, Arts Corps, the Seattle International Film Festival, and Coolout Network as examples of those who have lent a hand.
For 20 years, Georgio Brown’s “Coolout Network” was an outlet to show the world what Hip Hop artists were doing in Seattle. It began airing on Seattle Public Access television stations, introducing new talent from the Pacific Northwest, including Sir Mix A Lot and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Currently on a five-year hiatus from the show, Brown is collaborating with Associate Director of the Communication Leadership program and seasoned filmmaker Scott Macklin, and Hip Hop historian Mike Clark to work on a full-length feature documentary about the evolution of Hip Hop in the Northwest. Highlighting three decades of Seattle Hip Hop history, segments of the documentary will be shown at the Northwest Folklife Festival on all four days – May 22 through May 25 – as part of the Coolout Lounge at Fountain Pavilion at the Seattle Center.
“For hella years, the Coolout Network has visually been the pulse through the body of Northwest Hip Hop, recording and presenting the areas coolest moments through the eyes of director Georgio Brown,” Macklin said. “It has been quite the honor to help bring this story to the screen and for the rest of the world to discover what we already know – The Top Left is feel-thy!”
Macklin will also be participating in a panel discussion on Friday, May 22 starting at 4 p.m. at the SIFF Film Center to kick start the viewings. Come learn why Hip Hop has become such an enduring, grassroots part of life in the Northwest with no admission charges for the festival this Memorial Day weekend.