Imagine a shared space where hip-hop culture vibrates through every single inch — from dance, urban art, MC and DJ’ing. PATH, Preserving Archiving & Teaching Hip-Hop, is a Miami non-profit dedicated to teach and share the philosophy and main elements of this diverse music genre. As PATH exudes talent and education (btw, Yoli Mayor is a PATH alumni), it also provides an abundance of services & programs accessible to our community of all ages.

We caught up with Co-Founders Natalie Lewis and Seth “Brimstone” Schere one Sunday morning, leaving us ready for a goal-oriented 2019.

Back to Basics: What was the inspiration behind launching PATH?

Taking it back to 1984, when the living was easy in the Pinecrest/Richmond Heights areas, “Brim” experienced the merging of diversity including Black and White-American, Latinos and Asian “cats”. It was the beginning of something new — hip-hop culture.

Fast forward to hosting DJ workshops for the Miami Light Project, Brim pitched the idea of creating a hip-hop summer camp — an idea living in his mind for quite some time. Of course, MLP was on board and very graciously provided funding for the program in 2008. It was here that PATH came to fruition!

Influenced by 80s & 90s hip-hop, Natalie came into PATH with a background in Arts education and PR, with a purpose to incorporate mentorship for students. It is because of personal experience that Natalie has influenced the significance of a mentor’s purpose for a young artist. As of 2009, she’s managed to expand PATH beyond just a summer hip-hop program.

Challenges, Stereotypes, and Doubt: How to overcome and brush it off?

As we discussed this topic, Natalie shared “Often we wonder if our purpose and mission align with other people & organizations”. As opposed to focusing on misconception and stereotypes, Natalie & Brim go back to square one: providing connection, inspiration, and safety. With a big fat check mark next to these major areas covered daily (and passionately) at PATH, affirms this community mission.

Programs: What’s available @ PATH?

Like many organizations, funding could become daunting and overwhelming. But PATH stands strong with support from local cultural program partners like Scratch DJ Academy, Miami Light Project, The Children’s Trust and the Knight Foundation (to name a few). Knowing better than to put all their eggs into one basket, PATH offers accessible programs year-round.

Discover PATH’s seasonal (winter, spring, summer) Hip-Hop Academy, a therapeutic intervention known as Sober Studios, Intern & Scholarship Programs, and of course a PATH Mentorship program. With the intention to inspire and motivate young Miami artists far beyond “celebrity” status, PATH paves a spiritual foundation to hip-hop success!

New Year, New Goals: What to expect for 2019?

“We’re teaching them to be great artists, but we’re teaching them how to live a clean, healthy lifestyle. It’s important we teach them to go ahead and share skills with others,” – Brim Schere, Co-Founder & Education/Program Director. “It is a way of passing on the culture” added Natalie Lewis, Co-Founder & Executive Director.

There’s bigger fish to fry this upcoming year! Beginning by expanding the library and reach of Sober Studios — the recovery collab between PATH and Royal Life Center. By actively developing new ways to engage alumni and current students, this will continue to hold a supportive network of peers and adults, bringing visions and ideas to the next level.

The more collaboration among students within the organization there is, the more PATH, hip-hop culture, and aspiring performing artists build, connect, and share their work publicly. We encourage the Miami community to support organizations such as these to help build a brighter, creative, and lively future for the younger generation!

** photography credit: George R. Mercado **