FRESNO– Fresno State’s Valley Public History Initiative launched the public history and archive project Straight Outta Fresno: From Popping to B-boys and B-girls which seeks to document and showcase the local history of hip hop in Fresno and the Central Valley by bringing together academics and the hip hop community.
Photo Credit: Samuel Contreras
Follow the project on Tropics of Meta: Historiography of the Masses. Read this compelling article, “South of Shaw: Introducing Straight Outta Fresno” which details the conception of this public humanities project– to get the entire Fresno community and especially young folk to understand that their lived experiences– including hip hop culture and Fresno’s designation as the birthplace of popping dance style– are meaningful, worthy of investigation, documentation and discussion. Check out this exhibit preview article which shares some more treasures, photographs and ephemera from the archive that the project is currently building.
After launching publicly in December 2017 with a public event at Fresco, the project hosted event which combined dance battles and walk-in oral history collection.
The Battle for Fresno State which happened in April 2018 featured an impressive lineup of judges made up of some the most respected west coast b-boys representing southern, central, and northern California. The Battle for Fresno State Championship Round also featured a discussion of Fresno and Central Valley hip-hop history with a panel including:
Legendary Popping pioneer, Timothy “Poppin’ Pete” Solomon
Deborah McCoy of McCoy hip-hop
local b-boy legend Charles “Goku” Montgomery of Climax/Soul Control
Aren “DJ Hecktik” Hekimian, Grizzly Fest organizer and one of the primary architects of the central California hip-hop scene
Portions of the Straight Outta Fresno public history exhibit made up of material from the Straight Outta Fresno archive dedicated to the documentation of Fresno hip-hop history was also open to the pubic during the event.
Straight Outta Fresno staff were available for walk-in oral histories with any community members who wanted to share their history and to scan any material (photos, flyers, etc.) community members wanted to share. All material gathered will be uploaded to the Straight Outta Fresno public archive which will eventually be hosted on Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library website.
This event is part of a project Straight Outta Fresno: From Poppin’ to B-Boying and B-Girling supported by California Humanities through an Humanities for All Project Grant.