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HomeNewsArchivesYoung Rappers Rule at Reef Fest

Young Rappers Rule at Reef Fest

DJ Aqua Tune, aka Khaaliq Henry, won the Reef Fest rap contest held Sunday at Brewers Bay.Reef Fest’s fierce rap battle at Brewers Bay ended Sunday with DJ Aqua Tune, a seventh-grade student who lives on St. Thomas, crowned number one.

“Every day our coral reefs more and more disappear. Our shores are being exposed like wearing pants with no underwear,” rapped Aqua Tune, who is also known as Khaaliq Henry.

Khaaliq treated The Source to a private a capella performance, which you can listen to here.

Nearly a dozen aspiring rap stars took to the stage at the University of the Virgin Island’s third annual Reef Fest, sponsored by the school’s Sea Grant program, the Lana Vento Charitable Trust and the V.I. Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

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The family-friendly party also featured free snorkeling excursions from Happy Bubbles, hermit crab races for kids and lessons about fish-eating bats from terrestrial biologist Renata Platenberg.

Despite the plethora of fun activities, one of the afternoon’s standout moments was the rap contest.

Khaaliq took home $350 from First Bank for his winning number, which not only made a case for protecting the reefs but also gave shout-outs to his education at V.I. Montessori School and International Academy.

Judges named the duo of Dijan Van Holten and Chelsey Bryan, both 11th-graders at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School, the contest’s runner up. As they waited to collect their prize of Coral World tickets, Dijan said she had provided most of the rap know-how for their number, of which you can hear an excerpt here.

Chelsey, a writer who gave Dijan three of her poems to turn into lyrics, called herself a “legit” resident of St. Thomas’ North Side. In her own neighborhood of Hull Bay, boats have greatly damaged the reef, Chelsey said.

“If we don’t start taking care of the reef there’s going to be no future for St. Thomas,” Chelsey said. “They reef causes the fishing industry, the reef causes the tourism industry and some people even survive off of it.”

Home-schooled siblings Ericson, Eve and Abram Williams presented their own sweet number a bit more shyly than their older peers.

After their performance, the trio rushed off the stage and back to their mother, Cinnamon DeMarco. She said she assigned the 8-, 6- and 4-year-old to adapt “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” for Reef Fest.

“I asked them to change it and make it about the ocean,” DeMarco said.
UVI Marine Stewardship Coordinator Christine Settar said all the day’s earnings would go back into a fund for community education programs about preserving the coral reefs.

While the money raised Sunday will help teach Virgin Islanders about delicate undersea creatures in years to come, many of the attendants – including the charismatic DJ Aqua Tune – had already heard and heeded the message.

“Bad ways cause a lot of destruction and grief,” Khaaliq rapped. “We’ve got to get together and save the coral reef.”

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DJ Aqua Tune, aka Khaaliq Henry, won the Reef Fest rap contest held Sunday at Brewers Bay.Reef Fest's fierce rap battle at Brewers Bay ended Sunday with DJ Aqua Tune, a seventh-grade student who lives on St. Thomas, crowned number one.

“Every day our coral reefs more and more disappear. Our shores are being exposed like wearing pants with no underwear,” rapped Aqua Tune, who is also known as Khaaliq Henry.

Khaaliq treated The Source to a private a capella performance, which you can listen to here.

Nearly a dozen aspiring rap stars took to the stage at the University of the Virgin Island's third annual Reef Fest, sponsored by the school's Sea Grant program, the Lana Vento Charitable Trust and the V.I. Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

The family-friendly party also featured free snorkeling excursions from Happy Bubbles, hermit crab races for kids and lessons about fish-eating bats from terrestrial biologist Renata Platenberg.

Despite the plethora of fun activities, one of the afternoon's standout moments was the rap contest.

Khaaliq took home $350 from First Bank for his winning number, which not only made a case for protecting the reefs but also gave shout-outs to his education at V.I. Montessori School and International Academy.

Judges named the duo of Dijan Van Holten and Chelsey Bryan, both 11th-graders at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School, the contest's runner up. As they waited to collect their prize of Coral World tickets, Dijan said she had provided most of the rap know-how for their number, of which you can hear an excerpt here.

Chelsey, a writer who gave Dijan three of her poems to turn into lyrics, called herself a “legit” resident of St. Thomas' North Side. In her own neighborhood of Hull Bay, boats have greatly damaged the reef, Chelsey said.

“If we don't start taking care of the reef there's going to be no future for St. Thomas,” Chelsey said. “They reef causes the fishing industry, the reef causes the tourism industry and some people even survive off of it.”

Home-schooled siblings Ericson, Eve and Abram Williams presented their own sweet number a bit more shyly than their older peers.

After their performance, the trio rushed off the stage and back to their mother, Cinnamon DeMarco. She said she assigned the 8-, 6- and 4-year-old to adapt “I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing” for Reef Fest.

“I asked them to change it and make it about the ocean,” DeMarco said.
UVI Marine Stewardship Coordinator Christine Settar said all the day's earnings would go back into a fund for community education programs about preserving the coral reefs.

While the money raised Sunday will help teach Virgin Islanders about delicate undersea creatures in years to come, many of the attendants – including the charismatic DJ Aqua Tune – had already heard and heeded the message.

“Bad ways cause a lot of destruction and grief,” Khaaliq rapped. “We've got to get together and save the coral reef.”