Cola-Con is not your average comic book convention: not only is the convention centered on the relationship between hip-hop culture and its influence in the comic book world, but it also focuses on local hip-hop and alternative artists in the performing and visual arts categories. This year, Mo' Betta Soul & Cola-Con present the Cola-Con Dance Party, which will be held this Thursday, October 30th 2014. The dance party will serve as a fundraiser for the upcoming Cola-Con 2015.
Since its conception in 2011, Cola-Con has been a culturally vibrant event that brings local artists together while cultivating the parallel worlds of comics and hip-hop. “Cola-Con was an idea that initially began as a way of showcasing all of the great talent of artists in
Hip-Hop and the comic world in South Carolina,” says Preach Jacobs, the founder of Cola-Con. “I used to go to all the comic cons with Sanford Greene, one of my best friends that has worked for Marvel and DC and saw how many artists loved hip-hop culture. [It] wasn’t a huge leap to put them together.”
Some of the first guest artists to be represented at the 2011 convention included Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder. Since then, the convention has featured performances from artists including Ghostface Killah from Wu-Tang Clan, Phife from A Tribe Called Quest, dead prez and the Foreign Exchange. In addition to these performers, the convention has featured panel discussions with names from the comic industry including the executive producer for The Boondocks and Black Dynamite Animated Series, LeSean Thomas.
Many people in Columbia may not realize how interrelated the comic and hip-hop cultures are with each other, and how they have influenced each other as they developed. Cola-Con helps bring these two worlds together while educating those in our community who may not be as familiar with these scenes. Jacobs says, “Comic industry is almost identical to hip-hop culture. . . .Every comic illustrator I know started with doing graffiti. So, it’s something that hip-hop knows well. Years ago, comic books were not seen as a legit form of writing or entertainment, maybe even seen as a fad. Now, we have books like The Watchmen that’s on the Time magazine’s top 100 books of all time. Hip-Hop is getting the recognition the same way. Harvard University, the flagship university this country and probably the world, has started a hip-hop archive.” Jacobs also states that this hip-hop archive is a big achievement in representing the importance of Hip-Hop culture in our society’s development.
“I used to be frustrated by the lack of diversity, but it’s my responsibility to create what I don’t see. Columbia is a city that doesn’t have many outlets not just for hip-hop, but for black music in general. There aren’t places for soul music in this city. So, I’ve been doing things like my show, Mo’ Betta Soul, bringing soul musicians to the area like Eric Roberson, Anthony David and looking at bringing people like Musiq Soulchild and Bilal along with the hip-hop events I’m doing with Cola-Con to help.”
This year’s dance party will include performances by Pete Rock, a legendary hip-hop producer, doing a DJ set. Other guests include Producer Black Milk, representing Detroit, and Atlanta’s finest: DJ Rasta Roof (Phife of ATCQ) from Smokin’ Shells.
In addition to great music and dancing there will be a silent auction, live art, and a costume contest! The dance party will be, “an opportunity for like-minded artists to be together. It’s very rare to have an outlet for hip-hop music in this city and this is something for us,” says Jacobs. Make sure to wear your Halloween costumes and be ready to dance!
“Cola-Con is just proof that hip-hop and comic book cultures aren’t going anywhere. . . . My goal is to keep it moving.”
~By Sirena Dib
Event will be held Thursday October 30th, 2014 @ 701 Whaley from 8pm-12am. Advance tickets are $25. Get tickets here: goo.gl/4VGL
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