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Riders Against the Storm (RAS) is a husband-and-wife hip-hop duo that moved to Austin in 2009. Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone and Ghislaine “Qi Dada” Jean met in 2001 in Providence, Rhode Island. After collaborating on different endeavors in the arts including a touring comedy sketch group. The duo decided to form Riders Against the Storm in 2004. They started writing songs together and hit the ground running. The group’s first show was opening for the revolutionary hip hop group Dead Prez.
They started Body Rock ATX along with DJ Chorizo Funk in 2010 which is a beautifully curated high-energy dance party and ceremony of self-expression. The group has described the event as (All Souls Church) where people can go to celebrate life. At the last event that they put on before the pandemic hit, they had over 800 attendees.
In 2013, the City of Austin proclaimed August 29th Riders Against the Storm (RAS) Day in Austin, Texas. The following year they held the first RAS DAY Festival along with community organizations, local businesses, and health practitioners. RAS DAY is an all-day, family-friendly festival that inspires unity and is filled with diverse musical performances, health-conscious food tastings, and interactive activities for all to enjoy.
Riders Against the Storm was the first hip hop group to be awarded ‘Band of the Year,’ by the Austin Music Awards in 2014 and has won the title a total of three times. Chaka and Qi Dada have traveled the world and shared stages with some of the biggest names in music including Nas, Black Pumas, Erykah Badu and so many more. Riders Against the Storm continues to uplift, educate and give back to the community in all ways possible while touching lives through their music and philanthropy. Their new album Flowers for the Living is set to be released on February 22nd.
– Miles Bloxson