Cheryl Frye’s San Diego Hip-Hop Academy Celebrating the Music’s 50th Anniversary

Cheryl Armour Frye
Cheryl Armour Frye

Growing up in Chicago, Cheryl Armour Frye loved to dance with her friends and could often be found in her father’s garage on a cardboard dance floor as a nearby boom box played hip-hop songs.

Over the years, she channeled that passion into a career teaching dance, children’s theater and currently, running a local hip-hop academy.

Now, Frye is preparing to join in the national celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop by staging a local show in San Diego.

“We are Hip Hop: 50th Anniversary Showcase: 1973-Forever” will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Center in Rolando. The event will feature dance and rap performances, street art and fashion vendors and performances from students of The Origin Hip-Hop Academy that Frye runs. More information and tickets are available at

Frye has been operating the Hip-Hop Academy for 13 years, the last three at the Westfield Mission Valley mall. With national celebrations being planned in August to mark the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, she thought it made sense for her academy to recognize the anniversary in some way.

Growing up, she embraced hip-hop as a new form of music.

“The music spoke to something that we had never heard before,” she recalled. “It spoke about us and our trials and tribulations. Things that were happening in the hood, the lower economic areas that people didn’t event want to talk about.”

She estimates her academy has taught 5,000 students over the years. But it’s not just dance moves they teach. She enjoys teaching students about the history and global influence of hip-hop, pointing to a mural in her dance studio of Don “Campbellock” Campbell, a hip-hop dance innovator known for inventing the “locking” style of dance.

“We pride ourselves in featuring the hip-hop culture as an educational tool, as a community tool, global phenomenon of hip-hop and its ability to unite people,” she said.

Frye moved to California in the 1990s when her husband, who was in the military, was stationed here. In addition to running her academy, she has worked on recreation programs for the City of Oceanside, Chula Vista Elementary School District and nonprofit organizations.

On a recent day, she watched an instructor teach kids a dance routine in her studio and talked about the preparations for her upcoming hip-hop anniversary show.

“We’re just looking for people to come out and support and really just have a good time,” she said.

This post was originally published on this site