Hip-hop star lends advice
ASPIRING hip-hop dancers will get the chance to learn more moves with charttopping singer and hip-hop star J. Williams.
Tonight at 7pm, Mt Albert YMCA is offering a one-off dance workshop with the hiphop star, in partnership with RaiseUp, the YMCA’s youth development programme.
It came about because J., who was a hip-hop teacher before his recording success, works out at the YMCA gym and sees the work it does with young people.
The Take Me Higher singer says the YMCA’s vision to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities is one he wants to align himself with.
He can relate to kids lacking confidence and those who come from poor backgrounds.
‘‘A lot of kids are very shy and I guess those nerves can limit their talent. I hope I can be an example. I used to be like that but I’m here and just doing my thing,’’ he says.
‘‘I come from a very poor upbringing, a humble upbringing, I know how it is.’’
Mt Albert YMCA youth programme manager Kevin Carter says it has a huge youth programme where ‘‘hundreds turn up’’.
‘‘We had the young people and J. had the skills so it was a bit of a match,’’ Mr Carter says.
The workshop is organised by the centre’s RaiseUp group of 13 to 18-year-olds who also organise dance-party events and activities.
‘‘They’re a pretty amazing group of young people.’’
Teenager Saskia Anderson says it’s rewarding being involved in something that gives back to the community.
‘‘RaiseUp is kind of like a family,’’ she says.
Fellow RaiseUp member Marion Lavea agrees.
Mr Carter says the work- shop is a pilot and if it proves successful it will become a regular thing.
J. is slotting the hip-hop workshop into a busy work schedule of a week-long tour of New Zealand and Australia.
Kids attending the workshop will get to learn about hip-hop dance history and techniques, different genres and how to teach hip-hop.
Most of all though, he wants to raise kids’ confidence levels, saying it’s important for kids to follow their dreams, despite the bad things that can happen in life.
‘‘Last year was a really hard time for me. I was really low. But after all that bad press, I just want to show the youth that whatever you go through, you can hit a brick wall, or get to a dead-end, never stop chasing your dreams. I hope to be an inspiration to them.’’
The hip-hop workshop takes place 7pm today at Mt Albert YMCA, 773 New North Rd. Tickets $5 at the door.
Go to aucklandcity harbournews.co.nz and click Latest Edition to see a video of J. Williams singing Take Me Higher.
Hip-hop moves: J. Williams with RaiseUp crew members at Mt Albert YMCA.