Hip-Hop Artists Are Bringing Wildlife to Watts - NBC Southern California

Hip-Hop Artists Are Bringing Wildlife to Watts

3rd Rock Hip Hop hopes to fill a gap in education by organizing a "wild" event for kids in Watts.

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    Wildlife 2 Watts

    LA-based hip hop group 3rd Rock Hip Hop is organizing a 'Wildlife 2 Watts' event to kick off Urban Wildlife Week. (Published Friday, Oct. 11, 2019)

    Watts-based artists 3rd Rock Hip Hop have teamed up with the National Wildlife Federation for "Wildlife 2 Watts," an event will kick off Urban Wildlife Week in Los Angeles.

    The event, which takes place Oct. 12, will focus on urban wildlife that exists here in Southern California.

    "So many kids go to the zoo and see gorillas and elephants," said Ronda Phillips, an artist from 3rd Rock Hip Hop. "But we don't get to learn about the animals we actually have here in our backyards. So that's what we're focusing on in Watts this weekend."

    The animals — including snakes, lizards, turtles, and a 75-year-old tortoise — will be provided by the Terenga Ranch educational center. The event will also have activities hosted by many other Watts-based businesses including face painting, spoken word poetry and music.

    The wildlife event is just part of 3rd Rock Hip Hop's mission.

    The group composes beats for children, and the songs all center around environmental issues. With concern over how environmental issues impact communities of color, the group's goal has been garnering attention from various environmental organizations and established groups in the neighborhood like Sisters of Watts, a community nonprofit group. 

    "People assume we don't care because we have other priorities to worry about like financial issues, or day to day struggles, but it's more that we don't get out," said Warren Dickinson, one of the artists that make up 3rd Rock Hip Hop. "We care, we're just not exposed to it. Schools in Pasadena will have this sort of thing, but you don't see it in Watts."

    Dickinson said he and other members of his music group left their neighborhoods and ended up working day jobs around LA. Dickinson works for the events company that helps organize LA's annual P-22 Day, while his bandmate Archie Hill patrols the coast for LA County Beaches & Harbors.

    The work taught them the importance of environmental and wildlife issues. Dickinson now wants to pass that exposure to the kids who grew up in his neighborhood.

    "I know being exposed to wildlife made me more compassionate," said Dickinson. "That's what it's all about, we want people to be more compassionate. That will spill over into the mentality of the way we treat each other in our own neighborhood." 

    Urban Wildlife Week ends on Oct. 19, with P-22 Day at Griffith Park.

    Refresh this page often to see an update from the event preview, and be sure to follow @NBCLA on social media.