If the lyrics of the latest diatribe Kanye West calls a hip hop album has you running for cover, know that there's a different type of street art that abstains from dirty lyrics and violent messages to instead inspire kids to be better people.
That's the kind of activities that prevail at the Break Free Community Center, a volunteer-based hub located at 9191 Winkler Dr. that draws attention to hip hop culture's positive tenets: Peace, love and unity.
Among the leadership of the center is executive director Moises "Moy" Rivas, a Milby High School graduate who served as a caseworker for Youth Advocates; assistant director Rob Trevino, who attended Texas A&M University and is a fulltime professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Houston Community College; and program director Jeremy Pena, the main break dancing instructor at Break Free.
" It's about spreading the message of an art form that, for many, is life changing."
Pena, 22, is also one of 16 entrants and one of two Houston b-boys that will compete in the North American Finals of the Red Bull BC One, a one-on-one break dancing competition set for 9 p.m. Saturday at Warehouse Live.
After four rounds, which will be streamed live online, the North American champion will be crowned, a title that includes an invitation to perform in the World Finals held in South Korea in the fall.
"Winning a competition like this will for sure increase my profile in the world of b-boy dancing," Pena says. "But being a part of the competition isn't about winning. It's about spreading the message of an art form that, for many, is life changing."
What Pena is really after is raising awareness about the work at Break Free, which has launched a $25,000 crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to underwrite the construction of more classrooms so the group can serve their growing number of pupils.
More specifically, the contributions will foot the bill for appropriate flooring, new mirrors, a new sound system, wall build-outs, electrical work, fitness training equipment and sound proofing that together will enable Break Free to offer more flagship dance classes, add multi-media and electronic arts to its curriculum and provide fitness opportunities so members can maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Watch the CultureMap's segment on KHOU Ch. 11 for more: