Presenters 2017

Sergey Ivanov (Moscow)

Sergey earned his PhD in Cultural Studies at State Pedagogical University in Moscow in 2012, focusing on hip hop culture in Russia. He is currently the head of the Youth Practices Laboratory for the State Library in Moscow as well as the founder of Daexit, a non-governmental organization working with disenfranchised youth through hip hop. He has spoken about Russian hip hop at numerous conferences throughout Europe and has published a dozen papers encompassing topics from gender issues, education, graffiti and hip hop history.

Originally a bass guitarist in the rock bands Otragenie and Vasyas, Sergey transitioned into DJing and hip hop production in 2005.

By 2010, he had developed his skills as an MC and spoken word artist (artist name Grand Pa P), founding the music label Daexit and promoting artists from underground hip hop, funk and jazz. He performed with group Quiet Underground for several years before moving into more experimental poetry and electronic music projects such as spoken word/hip hop group Poetronic.


Tang Sauce

Tang Sauce was recently mentioned as a torch bearer for the direction that hip hop is going by Abiodune of the legendary Last Poets. But let’s go back to the beginning, where it all began. On the 24th day of August 1991, a club footed child was born to Leslie Manselle and Joseph Young Junior. Who would have thought that a child born with a clubbed foot would one day express through movement, I think not many. This is who he is. Tang Sauce brings a positive mentality to the table in which these types of things are possible!

When first given the opportunity to make sound in an organized manner, he would skip music class and refuse to play the cornet in the band at Hartford North End Corps, where Leslie Manselle, or Mama Tang (Again, his mother), was the band master, around this time, on a side note, Tang Sauce’s older cousin Simshindo would talk to him and introduce Tang Sauce to some of his earliest knowledge of African history and Hip-Hop, but, years later what would bring him into making sound? Fast forward to 2008, that answer would be straight ahead jazz inspiration from the Artists Collectives “Youth Jazz Ensemble” founded by Dollie and Jackie Mclean, but not before he trained for 2 years with the Manchester Salvation Army’s senior band. Rewind back to 1995 when he first took a tap dancing class at The Artists Collective. Now fast forward to 2005 after the movie that captured the phenomenon of urban dance at the time thanks to artists like Missy Elliot, “You Got Served” came and influenced Tang Sauce to make movement again after a decade of stillness. Fast forward to 2012 when United Outkast crew which Tang Sauce is a member of, took a victory at “Bboy Massacre 8” also the same year that T.O.B crew which Tang Sauce is also a member of won “Funk the politics”, both dance tournaments.

Rewind back to the 90’s where Tang Sauce was selected to be a published author through a program at his elementary school “Annie Fisher”. Fast forward to early 2013 where Tang Sauce was casted the lead role of Joseph Asagai in the MaPeach production of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Rasin in the Sun”. Rewind back to 2012 where he was casted as a dancer in Sidney Lumet’s “The Wiz”, another MaPeach production. Rewind back to 2008 where he performed with Manchester High School’s jazz ensemble and pit orchestra in Frank Oz’s “Little Shop of Horrors”. Rewind even further back to 2006 when he was asked to speak his thoughts on a panel with his peers regarding the topic of the achievement gap of different races and income levels.

Currently, Tang Sauce is focused on releasing his album Maturity, along with building himself creatively, artistically, and maturely, looking forward to a bright future of peace, positivity, wisdom, understanding, friends, sound, words, movements, thoughts and love.

Self-Suffice (Hartford)

The Rapoet appears (performances, lectures, and workshops) at venues ranging from cafes to colleges, receiving praise from poets like Alice Walker and MCs like Talib Kweli. Recently, he performed at Yale University, hosted the Hartford Hip-Hop Festival with Rock Steady’s Crazy Legs, rocked the International Hip-Hop Festival with KRS ONE, and enrolled a new class of students (for the 2010-2011 school year) in his much loved RapOetry Workshop course. He is now enjoying a wave of critical acclaim for his new album “Manhattan Night” featuring Mez (of J Cole’s Dreamville) and Young Cee (produced for Little Brother, 50 Cent).

When not performing, recording, or teaching RapOetry classes, he offers one day RapOetry Workshops and Lectures. He is currently recording a new album for major distribution while continuing to teach and perform.

Babaluku (Uganda)

Babaluku (aka Silas Balabyekkubo), is an award-winning musician, producer, community youth advocate and social entrepreneur. A founding member of Uganda’s legendary hip hop group, Bataka Squad, Babaluku is known for introducing Luga Flow to Uganda’s creative scene. This unique and powerful indigenous rooted style of positive Hip Hop music has inspired youth in Uganda to embrace and celebrate their native languages, culture and tradition. Babaluku is dedicated to changing lives and giving hope to young people from the ghetto slums of Kampala to Northern Uganda and other rural regions. Through the Bavubuka Foundation Babaluku supports projects that are calling forth the spirit of Ugandan people in creative arts, youth empowerment, education, community development, sports, fashion, journalism, and community-building events.
Born and raised in Uganda until the age of twelve, Babaluku’s creative spirit is driven by his desire to honor and highlight his musical roots while creating unique, fresh and relevant music which inspires unity and directs attention to the power of the spiritual.

Babaluku has shared the stage with many globally acclaimed artists, including Michael Franti, Shad K, Okai and KRS-ONE. In addition to his own album, Luga Flow Revolution, he has been featured on legendary international hip hop albums such as Close to My Roots by Black Star Line, Internationally Known by Nomadic Wax and Officially Offside by Khulumani Group.

Since 2007 Babaluku has amassed a multitude of awards including a Pearl of Africa Award for Best Hip Hop Single and taking home Buzz Teen Awards top honor for Best Hip Hop Artist. He also garnered international acclaim as the featured artist in the documentary Diamonds in the Rough which won the Audience Choice Award at Dances With Films Festival and Best Feature Documentary at Peace on Earth Film Festival. In 2010 Babaluku was honored by the Uganda Canadian Cultural Association for his Excellence and also chosen as Pioneer of the Year by the Words Beats & Life Remix Teach-In Awards.

It doesn’t end there. Babaluku is also responsible for creating Spoken Truth, a monthly event and the first urban spoken word movement in Uganda, which provides a platform for poets and artists in all areas to showcase their work and express their passion. In addition Babaluku has hosted and been the prime sponsor for the Uganda Hip Hop Summit which has been celebrated as the annual highlight of Uganda’s Hip Hop scene for the last twelve years.

2015 promises to connect global Hip Hop movements and organizations to his annual Back TO the Source Hip Hop On the Nile retreat creating a spiritual ancestral experience for indigenous hip hop practitioners and leaders committed to deepening their transformative Hip Hop Culture practices, unifying and rebuilding our communities.




Mikal Lee (aka Hired Gun)

Hired Gun is a Jersey born emcee representing the borough of Brooklyn since 2000. An educator, writer, emcee and event organizer, Hired Gun is a man who wears many hats within this hip hop culture. He is a member of the ESP massif since 1996, a co-founder of Say Word Entertainment and one third of the group 3rd Party and is a after school mentor/teaching artist for various NYC arts-in-education organizations.

Seth Markle (Trinity College)

Seth Markle is Assistant Professor of History and International Studies at Trinity College. He is currently working on two book projects, one that examines the impact of Tanzanian independence on the Black Power Movement in the United States during the 1960s/1970s, and the other on the history of Tanzanian hip-hop. A sample of his work is in his remembrance of the Geronimo Ji-Jaga, Godfather of Tupac Shakur, He is active in the production of hip hop culture in Hartford, through art and the radio.
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