While Roxanne Shanté is experiencing a huge rebirth with the release of her Roxanne Roxanne biopic, many are wondering what ever happened to Tyrone “Fly Ty” Williams— producer of the legendary Rap Attack radio show with Mr. Magic and Marley Marl, owner of Cold Chillin’ Records and manager of the Juice Crew. Well, Fly Ty is still out there supporting kids and taking them to their next level.
Back in the 80s, Williams created one of the first platforms to push Hip-Hop music out to the world. His show Rap Attack debut in 1981 on WHBI-FM in New York City as the first exclusively rap radio show to air on a major station. As if that were not enough, he took The Juice Crew from a being a tattered collective of Queensbridge MCs and made them into the pioneers they are today. And while many from rap’s golden era rest on the legacy they’ve created, Fly Ty keeps it pushing. He’s always marched to his own drum.
As one of the founders of The Brooklyn United Music and Arts Program and marching band, he (along with his partner Tyrone Brown) has sent close to 1000 kids to college while introducing them to the heritage of musicianship that was created and developed on the campuses of historically Black colleges and universities.
This community-based organization, one that serves youth throughout New York City, not only teaches the pageantry of the Black marching band, but helps them develop character, life-skills and superb showmanship. If anyone knows how to rock a show, surely the guy who brought us Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane does and like the world took note of the Juice Crew in the 80s, Broadway is taking note of these kids today.
Starring in their first Off-Broadway show, Brooklyn United brings their drumline to the chorus line, the swinging hips of their majorettes to the big stage in The Big Apple and the roar of their horn section to the roaring applause of “The Great White Way.” The production is called Brooklyn United Live and shows the process of being a member of the squad and all of the sacrifices it takes to be a BU member. Focusing around the concept of “The Village,” the show has an emphatic arc of celebration and resilience that uses the tools learned in the band to shape these talented kids. If you loved STOMP, Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk, The Blueman Group or Drumstick, you will surely love this!
Brooklyn United Live is playing for a limited time (Saturday, June 9th and Sunday, June 10th)at The Ellen Stewart Theatre @ La MaMa on 66 East 4th Street (between Bowery & Second Avenue) in New York, this is a show that you surely don’t want to miss. Fly Ty… seems like you did it again.