Collaborators
Joanna Haigood
Choreographer/ Artistic Director
Since 1979 Joanna has been creating work that uses natural, architectural, and cultural environments as points of departure for movement exploration and narrative. Her stages have included grain terminals, a clock tower, the pope’s palace, military forts, and a mile of urban neighborhood streets in the South Bronx. Her work has been commissioned by many arts institutions, including Dancing in the Streets, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Walker Arts Center, SF Exploratorium Museum, National Black Arts Festival, and Festival d'Avignon. She has also been honored with the Guggenheim Fellowship, Cal/Alpert Award in Dance, US Artist Fellowship, New York Bessie Award, and the esteemed Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Joanna has had the privilege to mentor many extraordinary young artists internationally at the National École des Arts du Cirque in France, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in England, Spelman College, the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, San Francisco Circus Center, and at Zaccho Studio. Most recently, Joanna was awarded the Artistic Legacy Award by the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2020 and the Individual Artist Fellowship by the California Arts Council in 2021.
Grandmaster Caz
MC/Writer
Born Curtis R. Brown on April 18, 1960, in the Bronx NY, Grandmaster Caz got his start in Hip-Hop in 1974. Originally known as DJ Casanova Fly, he teamed up with his high school friend Louie Lou aka DJ Disco Wiz and began his storied journey through the annals of Hip-Hop history.

Caz and Wiz were in a Bronx park having DJ battle in the summer of 1977 during the NYC Blackout! In 1978 Caz would pen the lyrics that would eventually be used in Rap music's first hit song "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang, inadvertently making Caz "Hip-Hop's first ghostwriter.” In 1980 Caz became Captain of the legendary Coldcrush Brothers and they proceeded to become one of the most influential groups in Hip-Hop history. Everyone from Run DMC to Big Daddy Kane, Will Smith, Rakim, Tupac, Nas, Biggie, Wu Tang, Freddie Foxx, Jay-Z, and more credit Caz and his Coldcrush Brothers as early influences and some have made their declarations on record.

"I'm overchargin ni**as for what they did to the Coldcrush" – Izzo lyrics by Jay-Z
"I remember Mr. Magic, Flash, Grandmaster Caz" – Tupac Shakur
"Aint Nothin Like The Old School" – Tupac Shakur
"Shout out to Grandmaster Flash and to Caz...." – Jay-Z on "I Do It for Hip-Hop" by Ludacris featuring Nas, Jay-Z
Dedication from Will Smith aka The Fresh Prince on "Live at Union Square"

Caz’s Coldcrush Brothers recorded the “Weekend in 1981” single on Elite Records, then proceeded to make their film debut in the Hip-Hop movie Wildstyle. They traveled to Japan and introduced Hip-Hop to a whole new audience. Caz recorded a few singles with the group on the Tuff City label as well as solo singles and eventually the album "The Grandest of Them All."

Since the resurgence and interest in the early days of Hip-Hop, Caz has been a frequent panelist, speaker, historian, and ambassador for the culture and an example of steadfastness and longevity. He has continued to re-invent himself and remain current in skill, know how, and old school swagger and was featured on Grammy winning artists’ Macklemore and Lewis's first single on their 2016 Album. The song Downtown went platinum and the video featuring Caz, Melle Mel, and Kool Mo Dee won a European MTV Video Award.

For 18 years Caz has been taking tourists from around the world on his Hush Hip-Hop sightseeing Tours of NYC and is Host of the Tools of War Summer Park Jams. Caz is in constant demand for interviews from media outlets around the world and collaborations from artists. Caz published a book of his lyrics aptly titled "Written" and appeared in rapper/actor Ice T's directorial film debut "Something From Nothing, The Art Of Rap," which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. Caz is prominently featured in the Netflix Documentary "Hip Hop Evolution" and his Casanova Fly persona is featured in Netflix series "The Get Down." He's been voted #11 of the 50 Greatest MC's by Blaze magazine, 6th Greatest of all time by Kool Moe Dee in his book "There's a God on the Mic," and voted #1 of the great MC’s starting from 1979 by Complex Magazine. Caz is widely regarded as one of the best mf'rs to ever do this sh*t. (Ice T, The Art of Rap!)

Caz has been recognized and acknowledged by the Hip-Hop community and industry for his many contributions to the culture. He is a member of the DMC Technics DJ Hall of Fame, The Zulu Nation Hall of Fame, and The Bronx Walk of Fame with Proclamations from The UN, Brooklyn Councilwoman's Office, The Brooklyn Borough President, The NYC Council, The Bronx Chamber of Commerce, and two Bronx Borough Presidents Adolfo Carrion and current BP Ruben Diaz Jr. Grandmaster Caz also serves on the board of The Bronx Music Heritage Center, The Windows of Hip-Hop Advisory Council, and The Kennedy Center's Hip Hop Council and Advisory Board and hosts a show on LL Cool J’s Rock the Bells Radio Platform as one of its icons. His name is synonymous with the words Hip-Hop and Legendary!
Grandwizzard Theodore
DJ
Grandwizzard Theodore is regarded as the creator of the scratch and needle drop that DJ’s continue to use today and travels around the world teaching Hip Hop classes and playing venues. He is featured in the first Hip Hop movie Wild Style and the movie Scratch. His life story was detailed in the Netflix series “The Get Down.”

As a child growing up in The South Bronx NY, young Theodore was always attracted to the music emulating from the speakers of his brothers Mean Gene’s and Cordio’s equipment, the legendary “L” Brothers. As fate would have it, he eventually began experimenting on his brothers’ turntable when no one was watching. One fateful day in the P.S. 63 schoolyard young Theodore, to everyone’s surprise, stood on a milk crate (as he was too small to reach the mixer) and began cutting the record back and forth and forth and back. He was a blur going side to side when in the middle of the mix he backspinned the record and began scratching to the beat. Little did he know that at that instance he invented the art of Scratching and the rest shall we say is history!

Grandwizzard Theodore has been awarded the 2001 Vangard Lifetime Achievement Award, 2002 Rane Best Performer Award, 2002 DMC DJ Hall of Fame Award, Global Lifetime Achievement Award, 2000 Source Lifetime Achievement Award, 2007 Premier Party Award, 2006 Numark Milestone Award DJ Innovation, 2009 Walk of Fame Award, 2012 Temple of Hip-Hop Award, Fearless Award Lifetime Achievement, 2009 Back to Mecca Award, ITF Lifetime Award, and four proclamations in 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2014.

Grandwizzard Theodore has taught at the NYC Scratch Academy since 2002 and has DJ’d for Kurtis Blow, Roxanne, Sant’e, Mele Mell, Force MDS, Big Daddy Kane, KRS One, among others. In 2014 he was the first DJ to receive Guitar Center’s Rock Walk of Fame Award with Grandmaster Flash and DXT.
Joe Conzo, Jr.
Performing Artist
Born and raised in the Bronx, Joe was born into Bronx Royalty. His grandmother Dra. Evelina Lopez Antonetty, affectionately known as “The Hell Lady of The Bronx,” is credited with starting Bilingual education in The Bronx and advocating for basic human rights for Bronx natives and people of color. His mother, the late Lorraine Montenegro is credited with starting the first Women with Children facility in the country to combat their demons with substance abuse. Joe Conzo Sr. is considered the foremost Latin Music Historian in the country and teaches at Hostos Community College. Serving 5 years in the Army as a combat medic, Joe found a career as an EMT and Union activist in The NYC Fire Dept. Retiring in 2018 after 25 years with FDNY, Joe was a staunch advocate for his members who responded to the 9/11 tragedy in helping set up the 9/11 health registry, which would lead to the WTC Zadroga Bill.

Joe acquired a passion for photography as a young boy attending the Agnes Russell School on the campus of Columbia University. He continued his formal artistic education at the School of Visual Arts (NYC). The New York Times heralded Joe Conzo Jr. as “The Man Who Took Hip-Hop’s Baby Pictures.” The long and perilous journey of his photographic images had finally captured the gaze of mainstream America.

All the while, he continued his photography and published a seminal book on hip hop culture that has received worldwide recognition, “Born in The Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop” (2007). In 2008, this entire collection of images became part of a permanent archive housed at Cornell University. The digitization of over 10,000 of Mr. Conzos’ film images has already begun - progress can be viewed at the Cornell University Library’s website. This collection is regarded by genre experts and academia as an important lens into the roots of Hip-Hop culture, the Urban NYC landscape of the 70’s and 80’s, and it is an integral source for any serious discourse on the movement. Joe has traveled all over the world showcasing his photographic archives as a Bronx ambassador. In 2019, Joe published his second book, “111 Places in Da Bronx you must not miss,” showcasing The Bronx’s historical contributions to The World.

Retired now for 3 years from public service, Joe continues his photographic career documenting events all over the world and fighting for the basic human rights for the people in The Bronx. Joe has been married for 22 years with 2 children and 3 grandchildren.

https://joeconzo.com/
MC Sha-Rock
Performing Artist
MC Sha-Rock is a historic element of history, often referred to as the “Luminary Icon” or the “Mother of the Mic.” As the Hip Hop Culture’s first influential female emcee, she has built a foundation for other female emcees world-wide.

Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, her parents decided to move the family to New York City. In the early 1970s a musical genre was born in the tough neighborhoods of the South Bronx. Talented teenagers with plenty of creativity and imagination began to develop a new street style, referred to as Hip-Hop. It provided a combination of rhythms and melodies from existing records, mixing them up with poetry chronicling life in the 'hood. Established as a b-girl/break dancer, MC Sha-Rock later elevated to become the Hip Hop Culture’s first female emcee as part of the legendary rap group The Funky Four.

For over 4 decades MC Sha-Rock has contributed to the Hip Hop movement. In 1979 MC Sha-Rock became the 1st authentic Female MC/Rapper from the streets of New York City to record a rap song with The Funky Four Plus One More. She signed a recording contract with Enjoy Records and its owner Bobby Robinson. In 1981 she appeared on the 20/20 television special “Rapping to the Beat” hosted by Hugh Downs. 1982, MC Sha-Rock and members of the group made a guest appearance on “Saturday Night Live” hosted by Deborah Harry from the legendary rock group “Blondie,” making them the first Hip Hop group to appear on national television. In 1984 MC Sha-Rock was featured in the iconic movie “Beat Street” directed by Stan Latham and Produced by Harry Belafonte. In 2009 MC Sha-Rock lent her likeness and voice for the 2009 Mitsubishi commercial, which aired during the MBA finals. Her work also includes several documentaries for the BBC film organization, “Thirty Years of Hip Hop” on VH1, and “My Mic Sounds Nice” on B.E.T, in addition to other networks and TV shows alongside The Funky Four.

This Icon has received dozens of awards and honorees for her contributions to Hip Hop Culture. She has received an honorary award from the Council of the City of New York for her involvement as a female Pioneer emcee that helped lead the culture of Hip Hop and The Women of Distinction Award by The Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem, New York. She has been featured in magazines such as “The Source” (2013) and “The Essence” (2013) and several books written by Hip Hop historians and authors, acknowledging her dedication and commitment to the culture; which has helped pave the way for females of today’s Hip Hop culture. Rolling Stone Magazine named The Funky 4+1 More’s Hip Hop Rap single “That’s The Joint” as one of the 50 greatest rap songs of all time.

In April 2013, MC Sha-Rock was appointed as a National Advisor for the Cornell University Hip Hop Library Collection. She was also appointed to sit on the Advisory Board for the Universal Hip Hop Museum scheduled to open in the Bronx, New York in 2023. MC Sha-Rock continues to lecture on university and college campuses around the world on the origins of Hip Hop Culture from its inception.

MC Sha-Rock has been labeled as the most celebrated Hip Hop female Pioneer MC of all time by fellow artists such as Fat Joe, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Fab 5 Freddy, MC Lyte, and countless Hip Hop lovers around the world whom followed her career throughout her tenure. She has collaborated with many international artists such as Ice T, Nas, Big Daddy Kane, Celo, Marley Marl, Kurtis Blow, Grand Puba, Melle Mel, MC Spice, Malcolm McLaren, and Angie Stone. Archives, artifacts and memorabilia of MC Sha-Rock are celebrated and on display at Cornell University and in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC.

The 12th District of the Bronx, New York has ordained June 1st as MC Sha-Rock Day. The New York City Transit Authority has replaced/changed a subway map on 174th Street in the Bronx in honor MC Sha-Rock.

mcsharockonline.com
Melle Mel
Performing Artist
Melle Mel began performing in the late 1970s as a member of the Furious Five. He may have been the first rapper to call himself MC (master of ceremonies). Other Furious Five members included his brother The Kidd Creole (Nathaniel Glover), Scorpio (Eddie Morris), Rahiem (Guy Todd Williams), and Cowboy (Keith Wiggins). While a member of the group, Cowboy created the term hip-hop while teasing a friend who had just joined the US Army, by scat singing the words "hip/hop/hip/hop" in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of marching soldiers.

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five began recording for Enjoy Records and released "Superrappin'" in 1979. They later moved on to Sugar Hill Records and were popular on the R&B charts with party songs like "Freedom" and "The Birthday Party". They released numerous singles, gaining a gold disc for "Freedom", and touring. In 1982 Melle Mel began to turn to more socially-aware subject matter, in particular the Reagan administration's economic (Reaganomics) and drug policies, and their effect on the black community.

The song "The Message" became an instant classic and one of the first examples of conscious hip-hop by exploring personal and social themes. Mel recorded a rap over session musician Duke Bootee's instrumental track "The Jungle". Some of Mel's lyrics on "The Message" were taken directly from "Superrappin'". Other than Melle Mel, no members of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five actually appear on the record. Bootee also contributed vocals (Rahiem was to later lip sync Bootee's parts in the music video).

"The Message" went platinum in less than a month and would later be the first hip-hop record ever to be added to the United States National Archive of Historic Recordings and the first hip hop record inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Mel would also go on to write songs about struggling life in New York City ("New York, New York"), and making it through life in general ("Survival (The Message 2)"). Grandmaster Flash split from the group after contract disputes between Melle Mel and their promoter Sylvia Robinson in regard to royalties for "The Message". When Flash filed a lawsuit against Sugar Hill Records, the factions of The Furious Five parted.

Mel became known as Grandmaster Melle Mel and the leader of the Furious Five. The group went on to produce the anti-drug song "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)". An unofficial music video starred up-and-coming actor Laurence Fishburne and was directed by then-unknown film student Spike Lee. The record was falsely credited to "Grandmaster + Melle Mel" by Sugar Hill Records in order to fool the public into thinking Grandmaster Flash had participated on the record.
BG183
Visual & Performing Artist
BG183 was born and raised in the South Bronx, New York, and is one of the founding members of the legendary Tats Cru – The Mural Kings. Defining his style as the Art of Letters, he has painted graffiti for 42 years and exhibited artwork around the world.

He has become world-famous for his many styles of letters, detailed characters, and complex backgrounds. BG183 is one of the most dynamic and innovative graffiti artists of our time.

BG183 has collaborated on corporate campaigns with McDonald's, Coca-Cola, MTV, and created advertisements for Jennifer Lopez, Ice-T, Fat Joe, and John Mayer.

His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and internationally including The Smithsonian Museum, The Bronx Museum, BOX Gallery Guangzhou and Jardin Orange in China, Casa de Cultura in Mexico, Hip Hop Paris 2015 in France, and La Jardin Rouge in Morocco.

BG183 has been featured in various publications such as The New York Times, Vibe Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Source Magazine, and in books such as Spraycan Art, The Art of Getting Up, Broken Windows, and Graffiti World.
Rokafella
Performing Artist
Ana "Rokafella" Garcia is a NYC native who has represented women in Hip-hop dance professionally over the past three decades. Rokafella is a multi-faceted dance-based Hip-hop artist who references street and Afro Latino culture as her foundation. She has been featured in pivotal Rap music videos, tours, film, and commercials as well as choreographed for diverse festivals and concerts such as Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Momma's Hip-hop Kitchen, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She co-founded Full Circle Prod Inc. - NYC's only non-profit Break Dance Theater company with her husband veteran Bboy Kwikstep, generating theater pieces, original poetry, and local dance related events. She performs music based on her experiences growing up in Hip-hop's birthplace and has had her poetry published in a Bronx Poets anthology.

In addition to directing the documentary about Bgirls, "All the Ladies Say", she is hired internationally to judge Break dance competitions based on her mastery of the classic Hip-hop dance style. She teaches unique workshops aimed at celebrating the roots and history as well as the technique of classic Hip-hop dance styles.

Presently as an adjunct professor at The New School and Hip hop dance instructor at Peridance Studios, she motivates aspiring dancers to understand and to learn the business side of being an independent artist. In May 2017 she launched Shiroka, a T-shirt fashion line with Japanese Grafitti artist Shiro to showcase both of their designer skills in addition to Rokafella's unique earring designs.

https://larokasoul.com/
John Ensor Parker
Inter-Media Artist
John is a Brooklyn NY and Cagliari, Italy based inter-media artist and curator working with painting, drawing, interactive design, lighting, video, sound and large-scale projection mapping. John has created large-scale public art installations at the The New Museum, The Manhattan Bridge, the Wyly Theatre | AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in NYC, and The Yards in Washington D.C., among others. He is part of the team who presented “Light Year”, a monthly single-channel video exhibition series on the Manhattan Bridge anchorage in NYC. He also designed and instructed the “Art & Science” curriculum at Eugene Lang | The New School for Liberal Studies and often lectures on the topic.

natureofenergy.com