Roanoke arts collaboration to release ‘We Are Art’ rap cypher celebrating Black culture Friday morning

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Thanks to a collaboration of the Roanoke Public Libraries, the Roanoke Arts Commission, the Grandin Theatre, and the Feeding Southwest Virginia Community Solutions Center, the “We Are Art” rap cypher is ready to be released Friday morning to celebrate Black culture in the community.

“The project, led by Creative Director Macklyn Mosley, a Community Services Assistant with the Roanoke Public Libraries and a member of the Roanoke Arts Commission, is a celebration of black culture through a staple in the hip hop culture: rap cyphers,” the City of Roanoke said in a statement on Jan. 29.

According to officials, this cypher will feature seven local rappers — Kahlil Alexander, Eboni Harrington, Dylan Dent, Dionte Hall, Rich Miller, Tyler Langhorn, and Laquisha Moore — each of whom wrote their own individual parts of the song, but the chorus is spoken in unison. 

The piece — which was filmed at the Grandin Theatre — will reportedly feature Antoinette Hale’s artwork from the city’s public art collection, as well as books illustrated by Roanoke native Theodore Taylor III, who spoke with WFXR News earlier this week about the importance of providing positive and innovative images for children.

In addition, officials say SnapKraklePop Photography’s Chris Tribble led the creative direction of the filming; Marc Rainey took photos; Andre Hairston, also known as AH Beats of Danville, handled the music instrumental; and Cameron Hughes of Roanoke took care of the mixing and mastering.

“The goal of this musical collaboration is to encourage Roanoke community members to know that the whole city is for all Roanokers,” said Sheila Umberger, Director of Libraries. “The hope of the artists and all the partners is that this cypher will help break down barriers while celebrating our many cultures.” 

The film is scheduled to be released at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 on the Roanoke Public Libraries Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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