478 – By Mikhael Simmonds
RDACBX is a hip-hop community center focused on training young artists in the Hunts Point, South Bronx. Despite the work done in the community, the group is unsure of their future in one of the country’s poorest congressional districts.
Gonzalo Venegas – About four and a half years ago we came into this door right here. We had came into a tip from a friend about this abandoned space. It was more than abandoned it was in ruins. It looked like a bomb had been dropped.
We came in the objective of cleaning up the spot and creating a hip-hop community center.
Gonzalo Venegas – We do that through multimedia training, which means that we teach young people how to be able to create and tell their own stories through film; through music production; through MCing and poetry and song writing; through photography. We provide workshops in those mediums. We also provide cultural performances and showcases, open-mics and spaces where young people would be able to practice and share their craft.
Rodrigo Venegas – For us basically, this space represented a safe space.
Title Card 1: The fun and games ended last February…
Rodrigo Venegas -– We got kicked out because we’re gangster! Nah man! We got kicked out because there is a process of gentrification in the south Bronx.
As you can see, the door is closed. They done changed the locks on us! We don’t got keys no more.
Gonzalo Venegas – The owner made it clear to us. He didn’t realize that the murals that we had were basically works of art. He couldn’t differentiate between that and some of the gang graffiti on the streets.
Title Card 2: Within weeks they got a new temporary space…
Rodrigo Venegas – Four months go by like this ‘snap.’ For us, it’s a blessing that we have that space, the BMHC. We applied for the arts in residency program, and we got it.
I think it says a lot about the energy of our collective when facing adversity. As a collective, when you go through the struggles that we’ve been through, you’re only going to come out stronger in the long run.
We look forward to continuing our programing for the next four months and at the same time looking for a new space.
Gonzalo Venegas – And for us, the inspiration that continues daily, on a daily basis with the people we see, the young people that work with. The artists the joined the collective when they were 15-16 years old and are now in their early twenties and are now doing things with their art – and still be active in their community. So for us that’s the daily inspiration that keeps us going.
The South Bronx is slowly being gentrified and RDACBX says they are the latest victims of this change.
“We have real estate developers foaming at the mouth at the potential for the potential millions they are going to steal from the people by raising rents and developing land in this area,” said Rodrigo Venegas co-cofounder of the group.
RDACBX (The Rebel Diaz Arts Collective Bronx,) is a hip-hop community center focused on training young artists in the Hunts Point, South Bronx. Despite the work done in the community, the group is unsure of its future in one of the country’s poorest congressional districts.