Queenz of Hip-Hop has evolved to encompass not only an annual event, but also community organizing, philanthropy, workshop facilitation, a professional performance troupe, and partnership with female artists across both the state and the country.
Due to the event’s prominence, Queenz of Hip-Hop has been able to lead workshops in Hip-Hop arts and social justice for hundreds of youth through such events as the Rocky Mountain PeaceJam Slam, La Raza Youth Leadership Conference, and more. We also recently partnered with Think 360 Arts to begin bringing our work to schools and other community institutions. Primarily targeting young people, these workshops teach not only skill in each craft but also how Hip-Hop can inform and fuel civic action, body positivity, and leadership.
At this year’s event, contributions will be collected to benefit Mother House, an organization helping pregnant women experiencing homelessness, which follows a long tradition integral to our event of collecting donations for local-area nonprofits that serve women. In previous years, items were collected for Street’s Hope, an organization helping women transition out of sex-trafficking. A number of hours are also collected annually for volunteering.
Elise Silva started her dance career as a salsera, practicing salsa and other Latin dances for over five years. Along the way, she was introduced to breaking and has been b-girling since 2007. That same year, she moved to New York City and, while living there, studied a range of funk and club styles, including waacking, house, and original hip-hop dances. She continues to study, train, and enjoy all these styles today. Furthermore, she is a hip-hop scholar, having written several works analyzing hip-hop music and dance through historical, social, and feminist lenses. Her essay, “Bronx B-Boys to Havana Hip-Hop: Breaking, Cuba, and the Globalization of a Subculture,” was published in the 2011 issue of the Gallatin Research Journal. Currently, she lives in Longmont, Colorado and reps Street Stylez Crew. After bringing her baby girl, Lilah, into this world in June of 2015, Elise is committed to ensuring that her daughter and all the women of the next generation have equal access to and representation within Hip-Hop culture.
Cindy Cervantes is a Denver, Colorado native and co-founder. The first Hip-Hop element she got into was writing/graffiti when she was in middle school and it wasn’t until college that she got into breaking/bgirling. It was during that time that she joined a student organization called Hip-Hop Congress Denver at the University of Colorado Denver under the leadership of Thomas Evans and Spenser Bernard. The idea of Queenz of Hip-Hop came out of a Hip- Hop Congress meeting discussing an idea for an event during Women’s History month that March of 2010. Since then, Queenz of Hip-Hop has become an annual event that the Colorado Hip-Hop community looks forward to.
Dance wise, Cindy has had the opportunity to join performance troupes that have performed in South Korea, Japan and Brazil. Cindy has also taught breaking classes to youth through Denver Parks and Recreation. Today, Cindy is still involved in organizing the annual event and hopes to collaborate with more women in the Hip-Hop community in the United States and those across the world.
April Padilla – Denver-born aprilFRESH is an MC/Producer, Singer-Songwriter and Author. She is a veteran recording artist, engineer and lyricist who considers herself a fan first and student forever of the HipHop culture she loves, practices and studies.