Block Party at The Station elevates artists of color, LGBTQ artists and youth

The free, all-ages event showcases hip-hop artists who are underrepresented at other festivals, say organizers. It takes place Saturday, June 17.

On Saturday, June 17, the third annual Block Party at The Station will bring together musicians, dancers and visual artists to celebrate South Seattle’s arts community. The free event in the Beacon Hill neighborhood primarily showcases hip-hop artists and seeks to provide a welcoming environment for people of color, the LGBTQ community and youth.

Lead organizer Matt “Spek” Watson said hip-hop artists are underrepresented in other local music festivals. Block Party, he said, was a reaction to that.

“There was a very distinct lack of artists of color on festival posters in this town,” Watson said. “We reached out to leaders from those communities to book artists that they love and to build a space that those artists would be comfortable in and flourish in.”

Festival preview

Block Party at the Station

Saturday, June 17, noon-8 p.m., The Station, 1600 S. Roberto Maestas Festival St.; free.

The festival is based at The Station, a coffee shop in Beacon Hill that has become a hub for artists and activists since it opened in 2010. Watson has been a barista there for five years and helped the event grow with fellow performance artist Gabriel Teodros.

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Vocal loop artist Parisalexa (aka Paris Williams), who will perform at the Block Party for the first time this year, said the festival has gained a reputation for being a supportive environment for young artists of color.

“I feel like I’ll get really good reception from the audience because they’re people like me,” said Williams, 18.

Other musical performers include DoNormaal, Rell Be Free and CarLarans. Dance performers include Northwest Tap Connection; traditional Aztec dance group CeAtl Tonalli; and Au Collective, a contemporary-dance group made up of…

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