Chistopher Duclos Special to The Skanner News
After a very successful Kickstarter campaign, Storefronts Seattle announced that Seattle's Massive Monkees have raised $30,000 to support their arts programs for young people.
StoreFronts's goal was to make the space on South King Street their permanent home in order to continue their work. After signing a long-term lease with Coho Real Estate, a property owner in the International District, the Monkees have achieved this, turning their community efforts into a full-fledged arts business. Additionally, this new home will serve as the group's own rehearsal space.
These classes and programs for the community are known as "The Beacon," an already established hub of activity in the International District. Within the Beacon program, the Massive Monkees offer adult and youth break dancing, hip-hop classes, and an after-school youth and mentorship program.
"The studio aims to be a 'beacon' of light to guide the next generation of dancers, artists, and creative minds in our community," the Monkees said in StoreFront's press release. "We will use the space to help guide and develop young artists into leaders, continuing the tradition that was passed along to us."
The Beacon is a creative program that is dedicated to producing, performing and teaching art with an emphasis on the positive art forms of hip-hop culture. The program provides a productive and safe place to interact with the community.
"In a world where hip-hop dominates youth culture, it is important to see hip-hop artists make a difference their community," said Austin Williams, the executive producer of Seattle's What's Good 206. "The Monkees' dedication to community and youth is impressive. Their after school program for youth is one of the most exciting projects I have seen in a while. It was awesome to see youth dancers have an outlet to have fun, and learn from amazing mentors."
Founded in the mid-'90s, the Massive Monkees are a 28 active-member crew of energetic b-boys and b-girls (or break dancers to those unfamiliar with the terminology). Massive Monkees perform at high schools to diffuse the notion that hip-hop and gangs go hand-in-hand. Massive Monkees are also known for dominating the national and international break dance scene. With their original moves and innovative group routines, they have won numerous titles around the globe. In 2012, they became the first American crew to win the prestigious "R16" World Championships in Seoul, South Korea.
Members of the Massive Monkees have performed with and/or choreographed with artists such as LL Cool J, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Missy Elliott, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and more. The crew has also been featured on MTV's "Made" as well as the hit television series "America's Best Dance Crew" and the Vans Warped Tour.
Massive Monkees have also dedicated much of their time to teaching and mentoring local youth in schools and at community centers. The Monkees pride themselves on being community difference-makers.
"The thing about the Massive Monkees is that they teach a lot of young kids how to pick up skills in the early learning stages of hip-hop such as break dancing," said local Seattle rapper E-Dawg after following and experiencing their impact on the Seattle hip-hop scene. "I know they do a lot of educational things like talk to young kids in schools about staying in school; they tell them that if you want talent you have to stay with the books."
In recognition of the crew's active difference in the community, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn declared on April 13, 2013 "Massive Monkees Day." McGinn's proclamation stated that "Seattle is lucky to have this group and are proud to recognize their achievements."
Massive Monkees: The Beacon is located at 664 S. King St. Seattle.
For promos, gear and information go to www.massivemonkees.com.