The Beatbox House is a Bushwick-based, award winning, and touring beatboxing collective co-founded by Queens native Chris Celiz. As well as performing to sold out audiences world-wide, the collective also uses their platform to offer educational programs to inner-city and mentally handicapped children. Their mission is to spread empowerment and love, while helping kids find their voice.
The collective was founded in Celize’s living room with former roommate and co-founder Izzy Freedman, which ultimately became a rest stop for beatboxers everywhere on their way to and from shows and tours. It is that sort of community and support that lights the fire for Celiz, “Everyone is the best in the world at what they do. It’s like a crew in the ‘Avengers.’”
Celiz’s love for the craft began after playing a video game called SSX Tricky in his early twenties. He recalls hearing the music and becoming enamored by the sounds and became obsessed because he couldn’t quite put his finger on what they were, “I remember looking up the album music on limewire or search engines, that was a thing, and I couldn’t tell who the DJs were and who the beatboxers were.”
This discovery ultimately led him to finding the website Beatbox.com. Celiz shared that as a first-generation Filipino: he always felt the pressure to be excellent in everything he did, to prove to the world (as many people of color do) that he could, in fact, succeed. Beatboxing has given him a safe way to communicate his narrative.
The connection The Beatbox House offers to their fans are not just related to music, but it connects to mental health awareness and support as well. “It’s okay not to be okay” is the slogan for the National Suicide Prevention Center and is something Celiz stands by wholeheartedly. His goal is to break the stigma of not being okay and have everyone look at themselves as equals, “It feels so great to get a message from a kid who is like ‘I was in a dark place and you helped me out of it.’”
Beatbox House is made up of Kenny Urban, Gene Shinozaki, AMIT, NAPOM, and Chris Celiz. They are currently have an on-going residency at The Bushwick Public House and will be performing next on April 12 at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door. Stay updated via their Instagram.
All images courtesy of The Beatbox House.
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