Author’s Note: All pictures were taken by Saidah Wilson
It would be really easy (and I mean REALLY easy) for me to bitch about how, on a day full of so much positivity, media was nowhere to be found. It’s a recurring theme, especially with events involving lots of Black people. But none of that matters. The Summertime Kickback happened. Tons of people showed up. Everyone had fun and the foundations are set for similar events in the future.
What happened at Woodlawn Park on Sunday was huge for Portland hip-hop. The people at Booty and Bass, Hip Hop Junkies, and of course, WOHM’s own Mac Smiff, showed that making something happen is as simple as going out and doing it.
I remember several months ago, when he brought the idea up in a WOHM meeting. It sounded great but then time and commitments rendered it all but lost. Then, a few weeks ago, not just was Mac talking about it again, he was moving 100 miles an hour, getting ready to put it on whether we were ready or not.
The result was everything we could’ve hoped for. People from all across Portland’s hip-hop community came together, whether it was for basketball, kicking it with good food and music, or letting their kids go wild in the bounce house.
Unlike most hip-hop events in the city, the police didn’t show up (if they did, they didn’t make their presence felt). Instead, there were a couple of park rangers who were joking around with people and seemed just as much a part of the community as everyone else.
The atmosphere couldn’t have been more ideal for Jon Belz’ “Summertime” video shoot, which also took place Sunday.
For me personally, it was great seeing so many people I don’t get to see nearly enough, as well as those like Nyce Lutchiano (Hadn’t seen him since 10th grade but his handle is still just as nasty), who I haven’t seen in years.
When we talk about Portland hip-hop, there’s usually so much negativity, whether it’s drama with the police, beef over top 10 lists, no one supporting each other, etc. More than anything, the Summertime Kickback showed we don’t have to be stuck in that tension. Using an activity like basketball, which means so much to the city’s culture, as well as music, food, and warm weather, the organizers helped build the community many of us endlessly wax vague about online.
The event couldn’t have run much smoother. The only thing missing was my jumper.
For more photos from the Summertime Kickback, taken by Adrian Adel, check out the WOHM Facebook page.