Hip-hop a way to improve the lives of Canadian youth

Unity Charity is offering free drop-in sessions for youth Thursdays at City Hall that focus on using arts that are rooted in hip-hop culture to help develop future leaders and role models. Photo courtesy of Unity Charity.

Unity Charity is offering free drop-in sessions for youth Thursdays at City Hall that focus on using arts that are rooted in hip-hop culture to help develop future leaders and role models. Photo courtesy of Unity Charity.


Mississauga News, January 26, 2016 by Chris Clay.

Hip-hop culture is, by its nature, inclusive and welcoming of those who embrace it.

Just ask Marcelino DaCosta, a long-time advocate and hip-hop practitioner from Mississauga’s scene. You might know him by his other name, Frost Flow, and as the founder of Mississauga hip-hop collective Ground Illusionz.

He’s also the program coordinator with the relatively new drop-in program being offered Thursday evenings at the fitness studio on the fourth floor of City Hall. Organized by Unity Charity in partnership with Tangerine and other organizations, the free drop-ins are aimed at developing skills in local youth while also helping them become role models and leaders in the community using peer mentorship and artistic performance rooted in hip-hop culture.

DaCosta says the sessions are for anyone who wants to come and learn. They have, in the past, brought in Canadian and international artists and creators and have offered sessions focusing on street art, dance, spoken word and other forms of art.

“We try to be an open place and allow youth to create and be themselves,” said DaCosta. “We want to make it a safe space for people to come and share and learn new things.”

While there’s a focus on the practical aspects of creating the various art forms, DaCosta said that’s not all the participants learn.

Last week, for example, organizers enlisted emcees and spoken word artists to share lessons on the art of storytelling, communication and the power of their respective words and stories.

DaCosta says one of the reasons he got involved is because of his love for hip-hop culture and his desire to help spread it to the next generation.

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