Seattle Channel’s Emmy-Award winning Community Stories series features local hip-hop crew Massive Monkees, chronicling the break-dancing troupe’s rise from competitions at local community centers to world-championship stages and its commitment along the way to sharing the positive art forms of hip-hop culture.
Three, free preview screenings of the 30-minute documentary “Massive Monkees: The Beacon” will take place Thursday, March 3 at the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), 860 Terry Avenue N. The documentary will screen at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. DJ100proof will fill the MOHAI Atrium with music from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Admission to MOHAI and the screenings is free as part of Free Museum Day, which occurs the first Thursday of every month at MOHAI and other Seattle museums.
The preview screenings of “Massive Monkees: The Beacon” are presented in conjunction with MOHAI’s current temporary exhibit “The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop.” Open through May 1, the interactive exhibit explores the many aspects of the Seattle hip-hop scene through the personal stories and experiences of local artists and performers.
Seattle Channel Senior Producer Shannon Gee, who directed, photographed and edited the documentary, will lead post-film discussions following each screening.
“The Massive Monkees’ talent and commitment to community is remarkable,” said Gee. “They inspire dancers of all ages and disciplines, as well as show how their story can apply to all of us. Seattle is lucky to have this world class hip-hop crew dedicating their energy and focus to our community and city.”
Massive Monkees’ founding members connected in the mid-‘90s at the Jefferson Community Center in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, where they bonded as teens around a love of hip-hop and dance. In 1999, they formed Massive Monkees and began competing in battles (breakdancing competitions) and won their first world championship just five years later in 2004. Today, they are known worldwide, having toured and shared stages with renowned artists, most recently Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Crew members also perform at NBA game halftimes, a tradition that began when some members performed as part of the Seattle Supersonics’ Boom Squad.
After winning world championships and achieving many other awards in the break-dance community, the crew set its sights on opening its own studio as a way to give back to the Seattle community in which it grew and thrived. In 2013, Massive Monkees opened The Beacon, a community studio located in the Chinatown-International District where b-boys and b-girls teach, mentor, and inspire people of all ages.
The documentary highlights the crew’s dedication to sharing its passion of hip-hop and dance with local youth and inspiring them to be confident, think creatively and work to their full potential.
“What it means to be a part of a team … to have a vision and bring your vision to life, what it means to love something and be passionate … These are the things we learned through breaking so it’s easy for us to teach and convey these messages and share them through breaking,” says Brysen “JustBe” Angeles, a founding member of Massive Monkees.
“Massive Monkees: The Beacon” will premiere on Seattle Channel cable 21 at 7 p.m., Monday, March 7. It will also be available online.