The 5th annual UNITY Festival is ready to pop, lock, and drop some of the hottest acts in hip-hop this week, from July 18-21 throughout Toronto. UNITY festival is the main awareness event to celebrate UNITY charity’s year-round mission and programs.
Michael Prosserman, the founder of UNITY, has succeeded in engaging and empowering over 1000,000 youth across Canada to be role models in their communities through artistic self-expression. The festival is an extension of UNITY and Posserman himself. I recently had a chance to ask Posserman a few questions, so we could learn more about him, UNITY, and the festival.
HM: For those who are not familiar with UNITY, could you please share how your personal experience led you to create this charity?
Michael P.: UNITY is my own story, I used break dancing to relieve the stress and anger I had as a teenager so I was able to focus on my goals and on my future. It was the perfect outlet for me to help me focus in school and life. I decided I wanted to share this outlet with other young people across Canada so I started UNITY charity as a high school class project. It has since grown into a National Charity that reaches over 30,000 young people each year with the mission to empower more positive young leaders through urban art forms in school & community programs.
HM: To follow up from that, could you tell us more about UNITY Festival and how it complements the UNITY mission/vision?
MP: UNITY Festival is the celebration of the voice of all the youth in our programs. We have over 200 youth perform and compete over 4 days from July 18 to 21 in the UNITY Festival, and even have over 70 youth volunteers. It’s incredible to have youth share their stories and their expressions on the public stage at Dundas Square. It’s giving them the same stage as major headliners that they look up to such as Talib Kweli, Rahzel, Kid David, Queen Godis and many more. This festival gives youth a platform and a vehicle to be heard and brings awareness to the UNITY cause and our year round programs.
HM: With an interesting line up of events for the festival, anything you would like to highlight as a “not miss” event?
MP: It’s hard to say, honestly, each day of the UNITY festival has such a unique and powerful draw that I wouldn’t say any day is better then the next. Make sure to check out National UNITY Day cypher across Canada will be a new addition. Keep up with us on @unitycharity and see festival specific tweets at hashtag #unityfestival and check out all festival events on Facebook
HM: Lastly, could you say more about National UNITY Day please?
MP: [The festival] also brings attention to our National programs through National UNITY Day which is happening in Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Winnipeg and Toronto all on July 20th where artists engaged with UNITY will be running a “cypher” in their own city where people will be performing and sharing their art forms in their communities across Canada.
Posserman is right… There is a lot to take in during this four-day festival, including National UNITY Day. For those of you who are planning to attend, I suggest catching Scratch, of The Roots, who will guest judge at the Free Your Sound: 2vs2 Beatboxing Battle at The Mod Club on Thursday, July 18, a stellar showcase of young talent led by some of the most prolific artists in urban culture. As well as, Free Your Style: Breakdancing and All Styles with headliner Kid David at The Phoenix Concert Theatre on Friday, July 19.
The festival is accessible to all age groups, and it also offers FREE admission to several events for youth 18 years and under. That’s an excellent deal! For full festival listings, venues, and schedule visit unitycharity.com/festival.