Street Culture is on the up

In 2018, how do you define street culture? We tried to answer that question with the help of two start-up that should mark their time.

According to french Wikipedia, urban culture covers all cultural, artistic and sports practices of urban areas.

OK, we'll admit, this could mean anything and its contrary.

During our visit to La Place, a cultural space dedicated to street-culture located in the heart of Paris, we tried to find a precise definition ... the task proved to be more difficult than expected. Although its foundations are engraved in the marble, it is constantly changing, and one could even say that we are currently witnessing its official takeover as all the elements which makes it complete are at the forefront of the mainstream field.

At the time of its arrival in France at the beginning of the 80's thanks to Hip-Hop (a new culture gathering several disciplines including the musical genre of the same name which is based on old samples and deals with the living conditions of the African American community), it wasn't exactly a nation favorite. Some found it too violent, others too insulating ... in hindsight, we can simply observe that most did not understand it. Though, youngsters from rough neighborhoods around the world gladly took part in it and adopted its codes rather quickly.

For Karym Mbakam « it is a culture that has been left out ", a culture that many are still discovering. The founder of the participatory platform U.One insists: "this culture has a life". In early 2017, he launched U.One with Chrystèle Sanon. The two friends were ready to take the world by storm and offer a platform with premium, thought-provoking and impacting content... that also felt very urban. This platform is, in a way, a preview of what's to come when the HD television channel that they are working on will launch in late 2018, in France and French-speaking Africa in particular.

For a long time, urban culture has been associated with the most controversial aspects and therefore media coverage of the suburbs. For Laurence Le Ny, Orange's creative industries and start-up director, there's one thing the culture must avoid " being 'ghettoified'. No one should consider it as niche".

From now on, the codes of this culture are used in all key areas of entertainment and art.

When Chrystèle says "every industry is influenced by it, whether fashion, cinema and luxury...", you can't help but think about things like the Louis Vuitton X Suprême fashion campaign, or Taylor Swift's latest urban-pop releases.

Alexandre Bananier and his brother Josué stroke gold when in 2016 they decided to launch Rekyou. Their goal? To link artists and recording studios.

For Alexandre, the digital arena plays a huge part in this change of cultural landscape. When he talks about his project, he says: "today there is room, room for us to grow, to be bigger".

What U.One and Rekyou have in common is this desire to promote quality and in a sense show a much more radiant image of street culture. However, these two platforms are in total agreement to say that this is a culture that must continue to grow, to present itself to people who are not necessarily part of it.

Arnaud Houndjo, head of La Place's entrepreneurship space aka "L'Espace E" agrees: "It's a place that was created to open this culture to others".

In 2016, Deezer made it clear that the most streamed music was Hip-Hop, with the likes of Jul, PNL, SCH, Booba and Maitre Gims at the top of the most played artists list. Gone are the days when all you could hear at a party was some thumping bass, now it seems to be all about edgy (or not) punchlines and Trap beats.

Karym says: "We talk about street culture, urban culture, but that's not the case anymore ... it's the millenial culture." For Chrystèle, it's even clearer: "Today, whether we speak to young or old, most of the codes we use come from that culture".

When we really think about it, isn't street culture an integral part of our daily lives? Leaving behind its "niche" label, it seems like it simply stands as "culture" now.