2018 Fall

How to Turn a Crowd Into a Community

In today's wired world, we are more "connected" than ever before. But why does it feel like something fundamental is missing? If isolation and anxiety are the poisons that permeate our day-to-day existence, Flobots emcees Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit have uncovered clues to an antidote. Tangled within the roots of their 30+ year friendship, they find a set of unwritten core principles that allowed a group of at-risk youth to feed their spirits and thrive amidst adversity. 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.