Rapper Hollywood Floss Uses Urban Arts To Help Houston Youth
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Southern rap artist and school teacher Hollywood Floss has been simultaneously building his music career in his native Houston, while giving back to the community and he’s chosen two organizations that tie in with his love of hip hop. We Give A Jam gathers school supplies for inner-city students with a breakdancing competition as the main event and Rap Camp is an outreach program for aspiring MCs, DJs and producers.
“These organizations are both huge in my life because I know how important they are to helping new talent and keeping good talented kids away from the streets or helping smart students who may not have all the school supplies they need get what they need from the We Give A Jam giveaway,” the 30-year-old born Bruce Jones tells Samaritanmag.
“Each year, one underprivileged school is chosen; the event and fundraiser is held at the school or near the school. The event includes a free concert from local talent recognized by the Houston Press and Houston Chronicle, artists who come out and draw, and 8 to 10 teams of breakdancers who have a battle — the highlight of the evening.”
On We Give A Jam Facebook page, it describes the event as “a one of a kind breakdancing competition and community outreach fundraiser. Once a year, the RNS Community Outreach Program sponsors a Houston inner-city school to hold a breakdancing competition, also known as a ‘jam.’
"Breakdancers from around Texas come to compete for prize money and spectators from the school and community have the opportunity to watch people using the arts to excel. People wishing to compete or attend will be asked to bring $10 in school supplies to be donated to the sponsored school."
In addition to the 2 on 2 breakdancing contest, the family-friendly event also includes live music, dance exhibitions, community speakers, food, games, face painting and reading programs for children.
Interest in youth and community stems from Hollywood Floss' job as an inner-city teacher. His decision to get involved with We Give A Jam and Rap Camp came from seeing the growing number of kids interested in music and entertainment, but not having the funds to explore it further.
He also sees the valuable role that these organizations play in helping to bring the youth of Houston together in a positive way.
“Houston is a huge city and everything is so spread out; there are so many talents everyday that you never get to see, so when you have one or two centralized organizations trying to help out, it really pushes for unity in the city,” he says. “You also see collabs with more musicians from southwest artists with north-side artists who might never work together or don’t have the funds or a place to record professionally.”
While there’s a cash prize incentive in the We Give A Jam breakdancing competition, Rap Camp also tries to offer cool ways to reward the artists who participate. The best performers at this year’s event will have the opportunity to open for Memphis, Tennessee giants Three 6 Mafia when they play Houston in August, Hollywood Floss says.
Of course, it isn’t all fun. There are challenges with taking on projects of this magnitude in a city as big as Houston. When asked about how his charity work has changed him, he says, “I’m not going to lie — it tests your patience to the highest degree dealing with so many personality types. I’d like to believe I have a little more patience.”
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.