Awardee: Waajeed

Performing Arts, 2013

The story of Waajeed is a Detroit story. In the shadows of a towering Motown legacy, and under the tutelage of electronic heroes of Detroit techno, Waajeed would find his calling card in hip-hop. Along with luminaries and comrades like J Dilla and Slum Village, he would help pioneer a distinct sound in hip hop which continues to inform a generation of beat-builders worldwide. From dusty stacks of hallowed Motown wax, samples would be flipped, jewels would be dropped, and history would be written. After years of championing this beat movement through personal projects, concept groups such as Platinum Pied Pipers, a stellar resume of collaborations, and his own Bling47 label, Waajeed looks to pivot forward in a new direction, with his Detroit techno roots as the catalyst. Crafting a new sound and energy, Waajeed looks to further inform the next wave of beat junkies.

Project: Beware of the Dandelions

Beware of The Dandelions is an immersive environment built on the aesthetics of hip-hop, designed to embody the communal lessons found within complex sciences. Through interactive hip-hop performance, video projection mapping and creative technologies, this performative installation explores the relationship between art, science and social justice movements. Inspired by Grace Lee Boggs and decentralized, community-led social justice movements, the project provokes audience members to participate through physical and vocal responses, feeding their own concepts into improvised sections that support the premise that change occurs through critical connections rather than critical mass. Beware of The Dandelions leaves the audience with an opportunity to investigate a new theory of change for the world.

Collab: Complex Movements

Complex Movements is a Detroit-based collective composed of graphic designer/fine artist Wesley Taylor, music producer/ filmmaker Waajeed and hip-hop lyricist/activist Invincible, with creative technologist Carlos (L05) Garcia. Their multimedia performance works explore the relationship between complex science and social justice movements. Complex Movements is a recipient of a 2012 MAP Fund grant, Michigan ArtServe/Creative Many’s CSA project and winner of ArtPrize’s juried time-based performance category. They have presented at The Detroit Science Center for Kresge’s Art X Detroit festival, the Network of Ensemble Theater’s Microfest, Cranbrook Art Museum and other venues.