Yahkeem Ben Israel - Cultural Hip Hop Artist
Yahkeem Ben Israel is a Cultural Hip Hop artist, South African Hip Hop Award winner 2013, an activist born and raised in the streets of Port Elizabeth. He was elected as the utility coordinator by The Ghetto Youth Uprising, where he was in front line organising events for the movement, engaging with the stakeholders and representing the Ghetto Youth Uprising in public platforms.
During that time he has learnt things such as if one needs to do something, they must do it for themselves and not depend on anyone, he has learnt self reliance and as an artist that gave him responsibilities. Also the decision of him becoming a promoter was informed by reality with the Hip Hop, when it was started no one wanted to associate with Hip Hop because it was seen as an alien force.
Everything comes with challenges and for Yahkeem it was not easy to balance being an artist and the promoter simply because it is easy to focus on one element and find yourself neglecting the other. In Eastern Cape generally, stakeholders are not as open as they are in other provinces in terms of sponsorships and partnership, one has to dig extra hard in the Eastern Cape.
Yahkeem shares the need to start a festival in our province Grassroots Arts Festival was born out of a pressing need to have an Eastern Cape based that has national appeal. This event aims at Eastern Cape based artists who would not be ostracised and come only as certain raisers to their national Counterparts. The event is inspired by the extent and level of arts in the province; “I wanted to be part of a great movement of change” – says Yahkeem.
He continues to describe himself as a much grounded person and family hood is his point of departure. “My childhood dream was not cars, and all other things that children dream about, I wanted to be a husband and a father so it gets easier because I’m living my dream” – says Yahkeem.
Being the King of Eastern Cape is an inspiring and energizing development. Defending it affirms and encourages me to keep things moving, that testifies and is a sharp statement about the consistency on my part. ‘Honestly when I saw the nominees I kind of expected it, not because I looked down on the fellows but according to what qualifies one to be on the category and I knew that I am taking it again simply because, the category is about selflessness’.
“My plans for this year are to release a more personal album entity builders digest I am half way through it” – hails Yahkeem.
In December the artist released a single from this album titled Ingoma Yabaxhasi ft bella Velapi and Nqontsonqa. Apart from that he is building Grassroots and engaging stakeholders he wishes to travel Eastern Cape for workshops, and outreaches. He believes it is our mandate to build the Eastern Cape.
Connect with Yahkeem
Facebook: Yahkeen Mastablida