Written by Nick Christophers  |  11. July 2007

by Nick Christophers In the music, arts and film world ethnic lines have crossed in an interesting yet very creative way. A young vibrant Greek-Italian gal from Long Island decided to do just that. Marilou Arcuri has speardheaded the new New York Hip Hop Festival which will hold it's first three day event this month ( July 17-19). The NYHHF along with the Urban Vestige Film Festivals goal is to offer a platform for young gifted individuals. Their mission is to discover, encourage and support independent film and visual arts around the globe. Marilou has always been in touch with the arts whether it be through music or film. She has always been involved in some way or another. Marilou is not alone in this venture her brother James Arcuri (a film director ) and one of the key advisors, Richard Castellano are on board. Richard's role is to inspire the young artists from under privledged backgrounds. The NYHHF is geared to assist young artists especially from the urban areas of New York. On hand at the festival will be the likes of Rita Moreno, Def Jam, DJ Wiz, Monie Love and Flava Flav. These along with others are also nominees for awards. They will be honoring the talented Rita Moreno, Frankie Knuckles, Hector Lavoe and the late James Brown for the contributions to the arts. The NYHHF originated with an idea that Marilou came up with. " I formulated the idea after watching some young kids performing and I thought what can I do with my skills to offer them a larger platform to show themselves off. That is how NYHHF was born." Since some of these kids are from "tough" backgrounds it helps to have Richard Castellano on hand. " I grew up tough and grew up with wise guys. I know how hard the street life is. So I encourage these kids that it is better to express themselves through their talents than through the barrel of a gun." The NYHHF is also geared to benefit Comunilife Inc. ( formerly known as H.I.R.E.). The organization is not-for-profit and it's goal is enrich communities through mental health social services. It has been around since 1989 working to improve the quality of life around the city. The festival which runs for three days will offer Fashion, Film and music. It will be the first culmination of so many different artists from various racial backgrounds that is due to be a hit. When asked how it felt for a Greek-Italian gal from Long Island how she approached the predominatly African_American Hip Hop community on her project: " It was a little awakward but they were very receptive and I am sure we will make a mark in the industry."

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