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Breaking a violent cycle

<p>The best breakdancers in the country want to prove the boombox is mightier than the bullet.</p>

Breakdancing event promotes positive hip hop

Brian Towie/metro toronto

Michael Prosserman

The best breakdancers in the country want to prove the boombox is mightier than the bullet.

B-boys and b-girls from across Canada will pop and lock their way to York University’s Underground for Breaking The Cycle, the third annual Canadian Breakdancing Championships on Feb. 1. Teams of two will battle for a $500 cash prize and bragging rights as Canada’s best breakdancers. Host Subliminal will join marquis underground hip-hop names in attendance such as Rhythmicru and Promise for an evening of busting moves and mad skills on the mike for a good cause. All proceeds of the event will go towards Hip Hop Away From Violence, an initiative run by anti-youth violence outreach group Unity Charity, which works within high schools across the GTA.

In light of a recent report on local school violence, Unity Charity founder and President Michael Prosserman says getting youth involved in positive hip hop is more important than ever.

“We want to get the kids who don’t necessarily hear the preachy stuff, because they hear that and they switch off. We go with performance,” says Prosserman, 21. “Along with the breaking teams, we get already talented students to come out, perform and put a message behind what they’re doing.”

A b-boy himself, Prosserman isn’t worried breakdance aficionados and rap enthusiasts will view the event as an afterschool special. Real hip hop, the fourth-year York business undergrad and 20 Under 20 finalist explains, is about positive self-expression and having fun, citing the work of pioneers DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa as examples. Media and major record labels, he claims, would have you believe pimps, gangstas and letting your gatt pop is the genre’s only viable subject matter.

“Without guys like that, nothing in hip hop would exist today,” says Prosserman. “It started in the positive, but because of money interests we got the negative spin on the stuff with gangsta rap. We’re also trying to bring hip hop back to its more positive roots.”

No tickets will be sold at the door, but $10 advance tickets are available at York’s Vari Hall on Mondays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and its Student Centre on Tuesdays during the same hours. For more info, call 416-938-9693 or visit www.unitycharity.com.

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