Spreading Love on the Streets of Bed-Stuy

A Brooklyn nonprofit group is hoping to fight violence in the community through an old-school form of music. Avenue Music Group kicked off its summer pop-up series, “Spread Love,” in Bed-Stuy on July 2. 

The event, which reprises on July 9 and other Saturdays this summer, encourages local artists in the community to spread positive messages using a freestyle form of rapping known as a cypher. It’s an art form where hip-hop artists traditionally compose lyrics on the spot to rhythmical beats given to them either on a boombox or through vocal percussion known as “beatboxing.”

Avenue Music Group’s executive director, Joshua Walker, says he wants the cypher to be a way to bring people together in a non-violent setting, especially now that the weather is warm and crime is rising. Walker says he wants people to have conversation, something he says isn’t done too much anymore because of social media. Melissa Rose Cooper checked it out.

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