One of Cape Town’s legendary hip hop icons is turning 50 years old, but is still heading the fight for community upliftment through break dance.
“I can still teach kids to pop at the age of 50,” jokes Emile Jansen aka Emile YX?.
Emile used to be the manager of Black Noise, a home-brewed break dance crew from the Cape Flats who made waves internationally.
Members parted ways in 2015, and Emile, passionate about hip hop and community upliftment, went on to establish his non-profit organisation, Heal the Hood.
This venture spawned several annual dance events, including the Hip Hop Indaba, African Battle Cry and Shut Up And Dance.
Over the years, Emile brought out a number of studio albums and DVDs; he also penned poetry and wrote books.
But, instead of slowing down, the artist is gearing up for his next big project: establishing hubs where artists can live without worrying about having a roof over their heads.
“I am reaching out to various people about this project because I have become tired of teaching skills to young artists, only to see them sacrifice their dreams and passions for a “normal job”, which keeps them locked into a bond for a house for 50 years and never coming back to their heart’s passions.”
He says it’s heartbreaking to see artists struggling financially and he wishes to break this cycle of poverty.
“I’m tired of older artists still not having places to stay. This initiative is not for high-end, expensive housing, but to create container-style artist hubs and places within communities where they can share their passions and have a roof over their heads.”
Emile is launching the Artists and Hip Hop For Housing and Land project on his birthday on 20 July at Kannemeyer Primary School in Grassy Park.
There will be workshops and exhibitions from 2.30pm to 7pm and from 7pm to 11.30pm there will be performances by artists, including Rozanno, DJ Ready D and Emile himself.
Entry is R100, and you can pay at the door.