Hip Hop Gone Wild
Hip Hop may have originated in the streets, but it has a place in the wild. Both hip hop and the wild hold space for creative expression to be exercised liberally. Hip Hop is evolving, so is climbing and so are we. I love rock climbing for many of the same reasons that I love beatboxing and writing raps. They both connect me more deeply with others and with my truest self. They both help me think about death and feel more alive. The wild of the mountains inspires me to create something beautiful.
Lizzy VanPatten, singer, climber and co-founder of She Moves Mountains, and I will write and record an original song. We will create a short film that merges adventure with hip hop through the creative eye of Henna Taylor, local Boulder filmmaker. For Lizzy and I, music and mountains inspire us to expand our comfort zones and realize our power. Henna loves to capture the creativity and vulnerability of the people she is filming, particularly outdoors. To complete the hip hop theme, we will find a b-girl to dance to our music. With this collaborative team, a remarkable adventure film is bound to result.
In the Hip Hop Gone Wild project we will create an original music video telling the story of adventure and hip hop, of following what draws us and what makes us feel alive. We will tell a relatable story of entrepreneur-climber-creative-women through rap and song, through dance and through beautiful, inspiring footage of wilderness, rock climbing and people. This unique project reflects the layers of inspiration that a group of power-women experience from spending time outside. Rock climbing is much more than climbing rocks.
High Again is a compilation of photos, videos, and stories of the camaraderie found among views from mountaintops. In the last seven years the mountains outside Salt Lake City have given me something to live for, to really LIVE for. Death, depression, anxiety, and alcohol may have had a heavy hand in shaping my past but those gorgeous piles of rocks and the people that are drawn to them have created a future more full of light than I could have ever imagined.
I’ve been a snowboarder since I was five and in the twenty-three years since my compass has been guided by snow. High-tailing it out of Chicago at eighteen I eventually made my way to Utah, via Colorado. Riding all winter in Utah and all summer on Mt. Hood in Oregon gave me a home in snowboarding, which was behind the lens when it came to work. Make no doubts about it - snowboarding is a boy’s club. I’ve spent seven years navigating the waters of that industry with my camera, desperately building equal opportunities and cultivating genuine representation for female snowboarders and industry professionals alike.
Before this time, when I was twenty, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, and medicated accordingly. That many anti-psychotic medicines induce a walking coma for fear that your unmasked feelings might do you one worse. I was prescribed a life suffocated of all feeling without a single question of my current diet and activity level, both of which were disastrous. Recovering from this complete breakdown, I moved to Utah. Snowboarding introduced me to the heart of the mountains, and the mountains, they changed everything. The last four years have been an awkward, mildly embarrassing montage of a depressed, overweight, alcoholic in denial metamorphosing into a marathon trail runner, soloing Cascade volcanos in the summer and snowboarding down Wasatch peaks in the winter. But I did it and I’m off prescriptions. I did it and I’m sober, and I’m happier now than I believed possible.