Wortown Rising poster

Artist and filmmaker Kaz Supernova to screen hip hop documentary at Worcester State

February 7, 2024
By: Nancy Sheehan

Among events celebrating Black History Month this month at Worcester State is a chance to see an acclaimed documentary with a local angle, “Wortown Rising, the Untold Story of the First Hip-Hop Music Scene in Worcester, MA.”

The film, which packed the house at recent screenings in Worcester, will be shown at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15 in Eager Auditorium in the Sullivan Academic Center.  A discussion with the filmmaker and various people who appear in the film will follow the screening. The film is being presented by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, with a snow date of Feb. 22.

DJ Chuck Chillin

DJ Chuck Chillin from Wortown Rising

“Wortown Rising” is the work of the Worcester musician, artist, and hip-hop curator known as Kaz Supernova and was released last summer, coinciding with 2023 as the 50th anniversary of hip-hop as a music form.

The film draws perspective from Kaz’s experiences during the heady early days of the hip-hop scene as it took hold in Worcester in the 1980s. He began the extensive project in 2015 because he wanted to show that there was more to hip hop than how it usually is portrayed on mainstream platforms. He said he hopes that Worcester State students who come to the screening will take away a deeper understanding of hip hop and its elements beyond what they see on social media.

“The larger significance of hip hop for young people was that it provided a sense of belonging and a chance for them to excel in their own unique way,” he said. “It offered a space where they could find their niche and grow. Whether it was through break dancing, graffiti art, rapping, or DJ-ing, hip hop allowed them to express themselves and be part of a counterculture that was very innovative and energizing.”

 Kaz said he hopes the audience will come to appreciate the pioneering spirit of the early hip hop scene in Worcester. “It was a form of self-expression that went beyond what people today see on social media, and it offered a raw and authentic experience that was not driven by fame or money like so much music today,” he said.

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