Two Women Bring The Bronx to New Zealand

Although negative stereotypes of The Bronx still persist around the world and even right here in our own country and city, in recent years more and more of the plethora of positive aspects of our culture is gaining worldwide recognition.

To see this blossoming on a global scale, for us, is an amazing phenomenon considering we were the first platform designed and created to combat negative stereotypes of The Bronx.

Now, two women from New Zealand, Lisa Romana aka Miss Illz a visual artist and Cass Koutsimanis aka Cass K a female rapper are utilizing their love of the Bronx-born genre of Hip-Hop to take their art and passion to the next level.

The article in Stuff reports:

In an urban jungle, the Bronx, entrenched in poverty, a musical style was created by a group of innovators who couldn’t afford to buy musical instruments.

Throw a couple of turntables, a microphone, and some borrowed and bartered speakers from around the neighbourhood together, plug into the national grid and you have yourself a block party.

But out of the economic and social ills of that New York borough, made up of mainly African American and Hispanic families during the 1970s, came a sound and culture that would change the world forever.

Still, you can’t go anywhere without spotting its influence. It’s sprinkled in our language, clothing, automobiles; from popular culture to commerce.

And for many, hip hop might seem like a male-dominated art form (you’ve seen the overtly sexualised videos and heard the not-so-subtle innuendos towards women in the lyrics).

But two women are bringing the Bronx to Blenheim. 

One a visual artist, the other a musician. For them, hip hop was a way of life growing up. And, also, a way to find themselves in boy’s world.

Both women describe how Hip-Hop has helped them fit into the world. Now Illz wants to open up a retail space to showcase some of her artwork and fashion while Cass K is focusing on her music and taking it to the next level by writing scripts for her videos.

Whether you like Hip-Hop or not, you can’t deny that the Bronx has left a mark across the world. It is a genre that has surpassed something as classic as Rock and Roll and perhaps even more American than apple pie at this point.


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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.