Ithaca College students have a few days to trade in their tuxedos and gowns for the annual Winter Wonderland Ball for something a little more casual. This year the African-Latino Society will be hosting a tribute to hip-hop throwback party.
The organization’s first event of the semester, From Underground to Uptown: The Revival, will go from 8 to 11 p.m. Jan. 30 in Emerson Suites.
Sophomore Aja Houpe, internal affairs officer for ALS, said the event will replace the Winter Wonderland Ball in hopes of corresponding more closely with the mission statement of ALS. Its statement, Houpe said, is to spread awareness and cultural knowledge of issues related to African and Latino cultures.
Houpe said the event will showcase hip-hop’s history as both an expressive style of music and an urban way of life.
“It’s to bring our awareness back to what hip-hop was because hip-hop today is not what it was originally made to be,” she said. “There is definitely a revival in what’s going on and also an appreciation for the music and what it’s become.”
The Revival, which will close January’s Hip-Hop Appreciation Month and kick off February’s Black History Month, will also feature a best-dressed contest, trivia and DJ Emerson spinning traditional hip-hop music.
Houpe said that while there is definitely a classic style associated with the genre, such as big gold chains and Adidas sneakers, she feels it also encompasses the inner-city lifestyle.
“You can take that as simply as jeans and a T-shirt,” she said. “It’s casual. It’s come as you are, be as you are, and express yourself in a multitude of different ways — whether that be fashion and wearing the classic sneakers, leather jackets, jeans or that you’re using your spoken word, or you DJ, or you scratch.”
Freshman Aryelle Cormier, information coordinator for ALS, said the organization also hopes to bring students of different backgrounds together for a good time.
“Students can expect to see lots of colors, urban style, and a love for hip-hop and music,” she said.
Hip-hop, an underground movement beginning in the ’80s, was originally formed as a method of expression for suppressed groups of people within urban societies. The music created during this time used both strong beats and powerful lyrics to convey the emotions of a less-fortunate lifestyle and culture.
Houpe said she thinks hip-hop encompasses much more today than it did when it began.
“It’s become a vehicle for several cultures and several groups of people,” she said. “It brings out emotion, even if it’s just the monotony of the day or a little bit of anger. It’s a voice for a community.”
Houpe said the greater population sometimes holds a negative stigma against the genre due to conflicts between producing good music and producing popular music. She said many times artists feel torn between making money and staying true to the roots of hip-hop music.
Houpe said she hopes to curb that negative image by displaying all destinations of hip-hop at The Revival. The event will also feature live performances by IC Breakers and Ohio-based hip-hop group Fly.Union.
Cormier said Fly.Union represents the historical side of hip-hop — things other hip-hop artists sometimes overlook.
“They are truly dedicated to the roots, flavor and respectful side of hip-hop,” she said. “So many times when people hear hip-hop, they think of the maledictions that are normally used and the misogyny. This group focuses on the positivity of hip-hop.”
Houpe’s brother, Ivan “Iye” Houpe, makes up one-third of the hip-hop trio. He said the group accepted his sister’s invitation to perform at the event after learning about its purpose.
“It’s Ithaca’s kick off to Black History Month,” Ivan said. “We’re trying to add something from a music perspective and give our take on the history of ‘black music’.”
Fellow group member Jerreau Smith said their performance will be full of excitement and interaction.
“It’s definitely going to be high energy with some crowd participation,” Smith said. “It’s going to be a good time.”
Cormier said she hopes that students will form new friendships after attending The Revival in addition to taking away a few other things from the event.
“Hopefully, people have a few laughs, a good time and learn some new dance moves,” she said.