Hip Hop Artist Residency & Training
The Hip Hop Artist Residency & Training (HART) Program is a 4-month residency that will provide training and performance opportunities to 8 Black performing artists ages 18 and up with aspirations to build a career in Hip Hop and the performing arts. This culturally enriching program will also address how racial equity and social justice issues impact the Hip Hop and performing arts community. The HART Program will culminate in the creation of a collaborative performance led by the HART Resident Artists at the Bayview Opera House.

All Bay Area Black performing artists ages 18 and up are eligible to apply and then chosen by a panel of experienced Black performing arts professionals. Each HART Resident will have an opportunity to engage in their particular area of interest or expertise, focusing on the three tenets of Hip Hop: dance, music, and visual art. Placement in one of the three tenets of Hip Hop is determined by the candidate’s strengths and progress throughout the program.

Each HART Resident Artist will receive:

- A stipend of $2,000
- Access to dance & music recording studios
- Mentorship and Workshops
- Social media skill building

HART is a collaborative partnership between Zaccho Dance Theatre and PUSH Dance Company, and funded by the City of San Francisco’s Dream Keeper Initiative.

For inquiries and/or application support, please contact office@pushdance.org
Meet the 2023 HART Resident Artists
Jeremy Brooks (he/him)
Jeremy has a wonderful aptitude for dissecting and articulating layered concepts within cultural context, his movement background in both genres and again his curiosity and openness to the process, Jeremy accessed and embodied the complexities of the cultural lineages explored.
Nekia Wright (she/her)
Nekia Wright is an education consultant, sound healing facilitator, and app developer based out of San Francisco, CA with over 15 years of experience teaching adults and children globally. She is a California certified Education Specialist & African traditional healer through the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healer’s Association who wields sound energy to reduce stress and increase creativity, productivity, & innovation.
Infamous Taz (he/him)
Infamous TAZ is a rapper, poet, and a rare breed within his generation. Although only in his 20's, he is deeply rooted in the true culture and essence of hip hop. He manages to blend old school with the new school wave in his music. He is a wordsmith that utilizes lyricism and storytelling to reflect on his life, political views, spirituality, and most importantly to relate to those who have endured the same struggles.
Gideon Mekwunye II (he/him)
B-boy, Teacher, and Entertainer, Gideon Mekwunye II has been consistent in his love and craft of breaking and hip hop dance. He uses his knowledge to educate students of all ages in the history and applicable knowledge of Hip Hop styles. He has traveled and performed internationally while still making a name for himself here in the Bay Area.
Najee Amaranth (he/him)
Najee Amaranth is a father, cultural advocate and co-founder of Oakland Mind, a creative collective. Through his collective, he has created spaces for artists, brought awareness to human trafficking, and even taught hip hop at several colleges. He utilizes hip hop art to explore what a culture can be and uses knowledge to raise funds to support sustainable actions within the community.
Kontraband (he/him)
Antonio Washington Aka Kontrabandbeatz (he/him) excels as a composer, producer, visionary, and tech support. Born and raised in the Mission district he has a fresh and unique take as a Black man in a predominately Latinx neighborhood.
He has spent the last 18 months bringing his skills to the Dance Mission Theater culture as well as developing his own broadening group of artists and creatives.
Washington has written music for a number of groups and finds compelling collaborations to talk about his concerns; peace, justice, women’s voice and black pride.
What is the Dream Keeper Initiative?
Inspired by Langston Hughes’ poem of the same name, the Dream Keeper Initiative is a new, citywide effort to reinvest $120 million over the next two years from law enforcement into San Francisco’s Black and African American community. This initiative is part of Mayor London N. Breed’s roadmap for reforming public safety and addressing structural inequities in San Francisco.

The Dream Keeper by Langston Hughes

“Bring me all of your dreams, You dreamers, Bring me all of your Heart melodies That I may wrap them In a blue cloud-cloth Away from the too-rough fingers Of the world.”