E03: Interview with Rising Hip-Hop Artist “Big Q”
In this interview, we sit down with rising Hip-Hop artist, “Big Q”, and get his insights on the role of song and dance (element #4 of Cultural Animation) in today’s popular culture.
Quivan Adames (a.k.a. “Big Q”) lives in San Antonio, Texas, and is originally from Puerto Rico. Him and I go way back. We originally went to high school together in Dhaka, Bangladesh, of all places. From back then, I remember him singing and rapping wherever and whenever he could. Hip-hop was a big part of our lives. It came of no surprise to me, then, when I heard about his career successes after high school.
Over the past 10 years, he’s worked hard to make a name for himself in the Hip-Hop community, and has done quite well. If you search “Big Q” on Youtube, you’ll find quite few music videos with him in it.
From my experiences showcasing animation within multicultural arenas, I’ve always found Hip-Hop and the indigenous to be found in the same space. Perhaps it has to do with its “underground” vibe, for which indigenous peoples know all too well – for they, too, have felt the oppression for generations. This, by no means, is a way to continue victimizing indigenous peoples – for I believe they must transcend that state of mind if they wish to fight oppression – but it does explain why culture, animation and hip-hop can have a somewhat symbiotic relationship. Animation is very much about “feelings,” even though it is typically connected with technology, and the indigenous are usually “feeling” peoples.
Q briefly talked about native Puerto Ricans being referred to as Boricuas. Intrigued, I decided to do a bit of research on the indigenous people of Puerto Rico. Here’s what I found:
Wikipedia states that the original inhabitants of Puerto Rico are the Taíno, who called the island Borikén; however, as in other parts of the Americas, the native people soon diminished in number after the arrival of European settlers. The negative impact on the numbers of indigenous people was almost entirely the result of Old World diseases that the Amerindians had no natural/bodily defenses against, including measles, chicken pox, mumps, influenza, and even the common cold. In fact, it was estimated that the majority of all the indigenous inhabitants of the New World perished due to contact and contamination with those Old World diseases, while those that survived were killed by warfare with each other and with Europeans.
In a way, Hip-Hop (or music in general) breathes life into culture much like animation breathes life into inanimate objects. By connecting these different elements, we can invigorate the hearts and minds of people to make each other more aware. A new culture, a “third culture”, continues to emerge as our global cultures mix and share with one another. We can either look at each other as separate, or see each other as one. Study this and then leave our thoughts below.