Join us for a night of live performances, guest speakers, a dee jay spinning the cutz, and a special preview of the acclaimed Oregon hip hop documentary, Lifting As We Climb. Hip Hop legend Mic Crenshaw will be performing and speaking on the elements, music, and culture of hip hop. Lifting As We Climb features Oregon artists, producers, promoters, and industry professionals and documents the early decades of the art form as it took hold in this state. Director Mike Agnew will be on hand to answer questions about the film and his own history as a producer and promoter of hip hop shows in Oregon and beyond.
Ability Accommodation Information
This event provides the following accommodations:
- Handicap Accessible
Mic Crenshaw was born and raised in Chicago and Minneapolis and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. Crenshaw is an independent Hip Hop artist, respected emcee, poet, educator and activist. Crenshaw is the Lead U.S. Organizer for the African HipHop Caravan and uses Cultural Activism as a means to develop international solidarity related to Human Rights and Justice through Hip Hop and Popular Education. In his teenage years, Crenshaw actively confronted white supremacist gangs that were a growing part of the hard-core music scene. Mic eventually moved to Portland, where he quickly became one of the most respected artists in the Northwest, and his community efforts have had both local and international impact. In addition to his highly-acclaimed work in spoken work and Hip Hop, Mic co-founded GlobalFam, a non-profit (Education With Out Borders 501(c)(3) project to create and maintain a computer center for disadvantaged youth in Burundi, Central Africa. Over 400 people have received free training, and it is now expanding, generating revenue and creating jobs. Mic also partnered with Education With Out Borders (EWOB), which supports education, music, and art initiatives in Portland and beyond and serves as an umbrella for the local Books For Prisoners chapter and GlobalFam itself. Crenshaw was voted Portland's Best Hip Hop Artist in 2016 by Willamette Week.
Michael T. Agnew has been involved in hip hop culture from the beginning — throwing house parties and as a concert promoter, a security bouncer, a music executive producer, a radio and television show host, and a hip hop talent manager throughout his twenty years working in entertainment. He now is a filmmaker and has several feature and short films under his belt. His debut feature film is the hip hop documentary Lifting as we Climb, which premiered in 2017 at the Oregon Historical Society and received great reviews. Michael first got involved in hip hop throwing house parties to pay his rent and, then, started to promote parties professionally in Japan, when he was a Marine stationed in Okinawa. After the military, he moved to Portland, Oregon, and started working as a security bouncer at Cleo's, on Williams Avenue. There, he met Clarence Williams (aka Skeeter aka Dj Giant), and then, Hakim Muhamad, a member of the Oregon- Hall-of-Fame group Ukrew. Hakim and Michael opened a record store called Big Tyme Music in Portland's St. Johns neighborhood, and Hakim had a recording company, Soul Deep Productions, in the back of the store. Celebrities from all over came to the store for autograph signings, recording music, or just hanging out when they came to town. Mike learned promotion from David Leikin (owner of the Roseland Theater and Double Tree promotions), who encouraged him to go to university and get a degree. Michael earned a degree in Speech Communications with an emphasis in Mass Media from PSU, where he hosted and produced a popular hip hop radio show called "Off the Chain Radio" with DJ Tuffy and co- host Smurf Luchiano. In 2006, he started principle photography for the documentary of Portland hip hop. While researching for a college paper on the subject, he searched various libraries around Portland and could not find much about Portland hip hop. That is when he decided to make a film for the Oregon Historical Society and the Oregon community. Today, Mike spends his spare time as a consultant for upcoming artists, helping them with business plans, marketing strategies, and publishing. He is married to his wife Sonia and has one child Deidra and resides in Portland. He likes Star Wars and the Raiders. He is currently working on movie projects to be released later this year.
Edited Interview with Michael T. Agnew, featured in the Winter 2016 issue of The Historian newsletter.
When did you first become a fan of hip hop and what about the genre do you love?
I had my own apartment in high school, so I would throw house parties to pay my rent. I really developed a love for the music and culture of hip hop at that time, and I determined that the entertainment business would be my future.
Tell us some about your professional work with the hip hop community.
I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and I befriended a neighborhood young man by the name of Yoshi. His father had a tavern, or bar, and Yoshi and I would throw hip hop shows there. After the military, I moved to Portland and wanted to work in show-business. The first job was working as a security bouncer at a local bar called Cleo's, on Williams by Emanuel Hospital. Everyone who was anyone in the hip hop game came through Cleo's.
David Leikin's company would hire hip hop promoters like Cool Nutz, David Parks, and myself to help with the street promotions. Leikin encouraged me to go to university, and I went to Portland State University and received a degree in Speech Communications. I continued to produce and promote live events all across the country until 2006.
Why did you make this film?
This film is based on a college term paper. It made a great impact on the class. While studying to write the article, I went to various libraries around Portland and could not find much about Portland hip hop. I want people to be informed of the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that many individuals put into Portland hip hop culture. When they were break dancing and rapping in New York in 1977, so was Portland.