Rock Steady Crew Celebrates With Kweli, Mos Def

Twenty-four years since the inception of the prominent breakdancing collective the Rock Steady Crew, its members are still holding strong and giving back to the hip-hop community that raised them. The

Twenty-four years since the inception of the prominent breakdancing collective the Rock Steady Crew, its members are still holding strong and giving back to the hip-hop community that raised them. The anniversary was celebrated last week with a basketball tournament on Thursday, a film festival on Friday, free performances by DJs Tony Touch, Cucumber Slice, and Afrika Bambaataa on Saturday, and a star-studded show last night (July 29) at New York's Manhattan Club.

Featuring such well known hip-hop acts as Afu-Ra, Smif-N-Wessun, and Freddie Foxxx, last night's event concluded with a surprise appearance from Black Star's Talib Kweli and Mos Def, both of whom performed new material from upcoming solo projects.

A portion of the proceeds from the show will go to the Nkiru Center for Education and Culture, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based non-profit organization committed to improving literacy and providing a community-oriented meeting place that promotes multicultural education and awareness. The center was founded by Kweli and Mos Def in September 1999 after the Nkiru Bookstore, which they co-owned, was forced to close.

"Because of Talib and Mos Def, [Nkiru] has a large following of the hip-hop generation and [Kweli and Mos Def] have been very supportive of any cultural event that we have," Kweli's mother, Brenda M. Greene, tells Billboard.com. Greene, who is an English professor at Medgar Evers College and member of the Nkiru board, says that much of the proceeds will be used to start after-school literacy programs at four schools in Brooklyn, and fund N.Y.-based writers workshops that are sponsored by Nkiru.

Rapper Freddie Foxxx said Nkiru and Rock Steady events are important for the cultural and community impact they have. "These kind of events are important to the preservation of what [hip-hop artists] do," he tells Billboard.com. "Ever since they have been doing Rock Steady, I have been coming out because I feel that it is important to perform for people that are supporting this culture and giving their money and support to a good cause."