Reported by Filmmaker Bob Bryan
The Godfather of Hip-hop and the Legendary Leader of The Universal
Zulu Nation, Afrika Bambaattaa made a low-key, unannounced visit to
J.U.I.C.E. in Los Angeles, Calif. on the evening of Thursday,
September 15, 2005.
DJ Kenzo had called me earlier that afternoon and excitedly told me
that “he” was coming tonight. I told him I intended to be there
anyway, so this should be a real treat. Shortly after DJ Kenzo
arrived the place began to ” jump off ” as DJ K was pumped-up,
spewin’ crazy beats and jams that reached into genres of music
normally thought incompatible with “hip-hop.” But this crafty
turntablelistic magician blended tracks so perfectly, effectively
raising the cultural bar so high, that the breakdance cypher had
gone “crazy” with a swirl of improvisational systematic presentation
These talented breakers were infected with monster beats and
challenged to perform at higher and higher levels of experimentation
and proficiency. At a point, it was totally, positively, “outta-
control “, as each performer battled for floor space within a split-
second of someone else finishing their
piece! Ingenuity and execution was rewarded with spontaneous
applause, “hoops & hollas” and enthusiastic back-slappin’.
The electric atomistic smell in the air was a mix of sweat, incense,
spray-paint, lyrical residue, excitement, wonder, joy and buzzzzz.
Children took over the floors bustin’ moves; observers head-bounced
to the music, everybody “had next” and the vibrations of expectation
was palpable. “Is it true that he’s coming tonight?”
The soundtrack to this evenings’ iridescent festivities was
simply “Genius Incarnate!” Props to DJ Kenzo and the inspired MC’s
who freestyled Hip-hop Love and positive game, all evening long.
Upon “his” arrival, Filmmaker Bob Bryan had the great pleasure and
opportunity to meet the man and observe first-hand and close-up the
overflowing tender love and interest that Afrika Bambaattaa has for
all the Hip-hop Dancers, Graffiti Artists, DJ’s, Emcees and admirers
The genuine love, respect, pride and awe that was showered upon “him”
was a very real testimonial of how this Multi-Cultural Los Angeles
Hip-hop community views the living legacy and personage of this
visionary and humble man.
An interesting observation: As Mr. Bambaattaa circled around to
every sector of the venue, he constantly took digital pictures,
capturing the omnipresent explosive and creative activity of
“everyone.” Whether they were dancin’, emceein’, standing around,
posin’, laughin’, beamin’, representin’, drawin’, paintin’,
photographin’, observin’ or DJin’, Afrika Bambaataa was clickin’ and
Of course, everyone wanted to take pictures of their own with him and
asked him to autograph their LP’s, books, flyers, tee-shirts etc.
(which he generously consented to. I was honored to hold his camera
during these moments). In between photo-ops and chit-chat, his
relentlessly flashing camera kept poppin’ light, almost as brightly
as his outgoing charisma and personality.
The hours that he spent visiting at J.U.I.C.E. was an amazing
envelope of warmth, respect, irrepressible and manifest Love, Love
and more familial Love. There was no end to the smiles,
radiate energy and excitement that filled the halls of J.U.I.C.E. It
was quite an unusual evening fest to behold.
Afrika Bambaataa stayed ’til the very end, while the doors were
closing and the artificial lights faded gently to black, yet the Sun
still shone luminously into the Los Angeles night Sky……. Nice!
–Written by Filmmaker, Bob Bryan
(FILMMAKER BOB BRYAN HAS JUST COMPLETED PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY &
INTERVIEWS ON HIS NEXT FIVE (5) NEW DOCUMENTARIES GRAFFITI VERITE’ 6
through 10. Second Unit B-Roll (pick-up shots) production will
commence in the fall / winter of ’05.
The Multi Award-Winning Graffiti Verite” Documentary Series is now
out in DVD http://www.graffitiverite.com)