Inaugural Can I Kick It? Event Brings Community and Culture to Downtown’s Civic Space Park

Emery DavisFebruary 12, 2024
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Can I Kick It? event in Washington D.C. | Photo courtesy Shaolin Jazz
Can I Kick It? event in Washington D.C. | Photo courtesy Shaolin Jazz

Downtown Civic Space Park will play host to a new-to-Phoenix event celebrating the intersection of hip-hop and martial arts on Saturday, February 17 from 3 to 8 p.m.

Presented by community-building organization Downtown Phoenix Inc. and Washington D.C.-based event production duo Shaolin Jazz, Can I Kick It? will provide an evening of family fun in honor of Black History Month. 

“We knew we wanted to do something unique and highly memorable for Black History Month that aligned with our organization’s mission, which is to provide accessible, family-friendly and multicultural events for the entire community to enjoy,” says Downtown Phoenix Inc.’s events manager Jessika Baker. “It’s the perfect location because more and more people are spending time Downtown, and we want to embrace that growth by creating events that speak to everybody.”

The event will feature a screening of Black Panther accompanied by a live score of funk, hip-hop and rock by Lester Wallace aka DJ 2-Tone Jones of Shaolin Jazz. 

“We want people to enjoy a movie-going experience unlike any other, and walk away wanting more,” Wallace says. “Oftentimes after our Can I Kick It? events, people tell us that they only want to see our version of a film as opposed to the original, so we’re hoping for more of that after our screening of Black Panther.” 

Wallace says the event extends beyond entertaining a crowd with a movie and music. 

“Beyond the entertainment aspect, we believe that our engagements serve as a means to help preserve hip-hop, jazz and martial arts culture,” Wallace says. “These are three vastly unique art forms that were essentially created by people of color and born out of their experiences. We feel it is important to showcase what we do in black and brown communities, not only to remind people of our creative and brilliant heritage, but to also inspire others to continue to preserve these art forms.” 

In addition to the movie screening, event partner Archwood Exchange will be bringing its Buy Black Marketplace to the event, a traveling market featuring more than 20 black-owned, small businesses to explore.

“Archwood will have vendors selling everything from jewelry, clothing, apothecary items, food, home goods and more, so you can shop locally and enjoy a fun movie night in the park,” Baker says.

The fun doesn’t stop at shopping – Archwood Exchange is also bringing a slew of activities for all ages. 

“They will also host trivia and a costume contest, and will bring special guests, the 40-Plus Double Dutch Club, for a Double Dutch competition,” Baker says. “Downtown Phoenix is a place for everyone, and by creating events like this, we’re making space for even more diverse ideas, perspectives and experiences.”

The goal of Can I Kick It? is to create a fun environment where the community can celebrate Black History Month together while supporting black-owned organizations such as Archwood Exchange and Shaolin Jazz. 

“We would love to make it a staple event for people to look forward to year after year and continue to make it grow with additional partners and activities,” Baker says.