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Knockdown Center in Maspeth hosts 50 Years of hip-hop celebration benefiting Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens

Aug. 11, 2023 By Anthony Medina

Members of The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens were treated to a packed afternoon of fun and entertainment as part of the SiriusXM and Pandora “For the Love” Hip-Hop 50th anniversary celebration at the Knockdown Center in Maspeth.

The “For the Love: Community Giveback” portion of the all-day concert event on Aug. 10, separate from the Wu-Tang Clan’s performance later into the night, allowed kids and teens to participate in family-friendly activities such as table tennis, a pop-a-shot basketball section, a do-it-yourself custom backpack center and DIY graffiti wall art area. 

The rain tried to wash out the packed crowd of teens, but SiriusXM/Pandora was ready with rain ponchos for those who wanted to stay dry at the “For the Love: 50 Years of Hip-Hop” community event on Thursday, Aug. 10.Photo by Anthony Medina

Those who were able to attend the event as part of The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens received backpacks filled with some school essentials and a bucket hat that was particularly popular with the teens. Participants were also able to customize their new backpacks on-site by using a form of safe spray paint and stencils of varying shapes.

The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens teens customizing their new backpacks courtesy of Cricket at the 50 Years of Hip-Hop SiriusXM/Pandora event.Photo by Anthony Medina

“These kids have been looking forward to this, this summer because of the fact that their SYEP internships ended this week,” said Kimberly Paramhance, director of workforce development at the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens. “So this is like our big summer, end-of-summer celebration and we’re very grateful and thankful to SiriusXM and Panama for inviting us to this amazing event.”

The open space towards the back of the Knockdown Center provided guests with plenty of opportunities to interact with performers and enjoy some of the latest music with friends.Photo by Anthony Medina

Participants certainly enjoyed all the available activities and food provided by the co-sponsored event, including Daquon Jones (15) and Ayomide Israel (15), who were two of the more than 200 members that participated in the event. They both agreed that they were glad to be part of it all. 

The Tropical Kona shaved Ice truck was a big hit for the teens at the SiriusXM/Pandora 50 Years of Hip Hop community event.Photo by Anthony Medina

Nicole Hughey, the head of diversity, equity and inclusion at SiriusXM, said some of the significant takeaways from the celebration was giving back to the communities in Queens and reinforcing the importance of diversity in today’s youth. 

“Particularly in the role that I have, what I do know is that the greatest things happen when you have multiple people at the table representing the different perspectives. And so, you know, to be in a borough like Queens, give us another way to say, the beauty, in all of these different people, culture and languages, and anything else you can think about, pulls together a tapestry that is second to none,” said Hughey.

The South Bronx BBoy Rebels, a breakdance crew known for their performances on the city subway, danced live for The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens.Photo by Anthony Medina

Hughey also mentioned how interacting with the SirusXM/Pandora team and participating groups, and seeing employees 0rganizing the event such as the 50 years of Hip-Hop celebration, helps teens go beyond what they perceive as their limitations because, “what you don’t see you don’t believe.”

SiriusXM/Pandora and its partner Cricket awarded The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens with a $20,000 check.Photo by Anthony Medina

Toward the final hours of the day-long celebration, SiriusXM/Pandora and its partner Cricket also awarded The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens with a $20,000 check. 

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