Brer Rabbit and Jonny 5 of Flobots

  • Speaker
  • 2018 Fall

Brer Rabbit and Jonny 5 of Flobots Bio

Brer Rabbit (Stephen Brackett) and Jonny 5 (James Laurie) are lead emcees of the Flobots, the Denver-based alternative hip-hop band known for their platinum single, “Handlebars,” and for their commitment to grassroots social change. In addition to touring and performing with the full band, Brer Rabbit and Jonny 5 also appear as frequent speakers, lecturers, and facilitators at conferences, trainings, and academic institutions. Regardless of the venue or audience, Flobots use their expertise in applying interactive techniques to immerse all those present in an experience of their shared power.

In 2007, Flobots founded Youth On Record (formerly Flobots.org), an organization that offers musical training and recording facilities as a tool for youth development for Denver’s at-risk communities. In 2014, Flobots created the NOENEMIES project, a series of public workshops dedicated to recovering the power of collective song as a tactic for social movements.
Bracket and Laurie met in 1987 at Bradley Elementary School where they initiated their first collaboration: a comic book universe and publishing company called Tymeline Press. In high school, the friends shifted their focus to hip-hop. It was this passion that would crystallize into Flobots.

The duo launched the band in the midst of the 2004 election, seeking to use concerts to register and mobilize young voters. Flobots recorded their first full-length album, Fight With Tools, in 2007. The album’s meteoric success led to a record deal, international touring, constant radio play, and appearances on late night television. Since that time, Flobots have utilized the spotlight to shine a light on the needs of their local community and beyond, and have treated the stage as a platform from which to bolster positive social movements.

Brackett graduated from Colorado State University in 2001 with a degree in philosophy and a minor in sculpture. In addition to being a musician and frequent lecturer, he is a licensed teacher, an avid dancer, a leader in the National Training Institute and movement incubator Momentum, and an experienced stage, screen, and voice actor. He has served on the Board of Directors of Youth On Record for the past 10 years.

Laurie graduated Brown University in 2000 with a degree in Africana studies. In addition to being an emcee, his career has involved moonlighting as a community organizer, media columnist, talk-radio host, and storyteller. He has a passion for group-centered language acquisition, and is the co-creator of a weekly Spanish/English conversation exchange and karaoke night, as well as an experimental series of language-immersion game nights. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Project Worthmore, a non-profit fostering self-sufficiency for refugees in Denver.

The Flobots released their fourth album, NOENEMIES, in the spring of 2017.