When world-renowned Hip Hop dancers Boogie Frantick, DJ Zulu King Hazze, Devious, and Rox Swift founded the group in 2009, they were looking for a way to connect true Hip Hop lovers through a supportive family and community oriented environment. They felt that the “party scene” was giving Hip Hop a bad name and misrepresenting the heart of the culture’s truest believers. The GR818ERS also wanted to reach out to already existing dance and music collectives such as One Big Posse, while differentiating themselves by promoting non-profit organizations that helped youth in the San Fernando Valley (also known as the “818” for the area code) through music and dance education. The GR818ERS work with the non-profit organization “Hazze Hip Hop Culture Dream Center,” founded by DJ Hazze in the early 2000’s, teaching dance, music, art, computer literacy, and mentoring young minds inspired by the family and community oriented Hip Hop culture the group created in the GR818.
In 2010, Pierre Boogie (Pierre Arreola), class of Brown University ‘13, began organizing the group’s efforts with citywide efforts to bring families together, such as Summer Night Lights. The mission remained the same while more dancers, artists, and musicians from around the globe became interested in the grassroots organization that was making a big name for itself in California and on stages across the globe. By the summer of 2010, the founding members of The GR818ERS had become synonymous with the foundations of modern Hip Hop culture across the globe. Frantick was flown to compete in R16 an international dance competition in South Korea, has established a name for himself across the world, and had performed on the stage of the 82nd Academy Awards, TED Talks, feature film “Step Up 3D”, and Fox television’s “So You Think You Can Dance”, to name a few of his many accolades. Hazze had been making a name for himself in Europe for years, and had been on numerous tours to promote his solo music and recordings with The Movement and Katerpillar, including a dance performance for the Queen of England’s 50th Annual Queen Jubilee; his non-profit was also gaining attention from the news of the great successes of The GR818ERS. Devious was significantly younger than Hazze or Frantick, yet his impact on the world of dance was growing as he was victorious in battle after battle in the underground circuit, winning major competitions all over North America (and now he’s being brought to Asia and Europe for international Hip Hop jams!) and being featured on “The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers” series directed by John Chu. Rox Swift, who was just beginning his public career as a competitive Bboy, DJ and filmmaker, had been chosen to represent Anchor Blue Clothing in an advertising campaign, helped his crew “Brand New Old School” (Nasty Ray, Casper, and Devious) win the Break Festival 2010 competition, filmed some of the first official GR818ERS promotional videos which have received the attention of thousands of Hip Hop fans, and was a key player along with Pierre Boogie in organizing the first official GR818ERS family event in August 2010, titled “A Family Affair.” Soon after followed “An Art Show,”and monthly events “Flava of the Month” and “Art in Motion.”
The founding members of The GR818ERS are joined by a whole host of family and friends who are interested in helping build a stronger, greater 818 community. Thanks to the outreach efforts of these four founding artists, the basic elements of Hip Hop became represented in an artistic tour-de-force of talent including DJs, MCs, dancers, and artists from across the globe. The group helps run a chapter of the Summer Night Lights program funded by the city of Los Angles to create a family-friendly atmosphere that would encourage arts education and gang prevention in recreational centers and public parks. The GR818ERS have been commended by California Council member Richard Alarcon and awarded Certificates of Recognition by Senator Alex Padilla and Assembly member Felipe Fuentes for keeping a healthy, positive message of Hip Hop alive across the county of Los Angles.
To learn more about how you can help The GR818ERS make a difference in their community, visit our “Get Involved” page.