Hip-Hop Party for the People’s “Why We Flash Mob” Youth Panel: (from left) Tyheek Hicks, Tyree “Top Dollar” Dumas, Jihad Jones aka DB Haiddy lead a lively discussion about flash mobs, the resultant curfews and a support group formed by Tyree called “Dollar Boys.” — BILL ACHUFF PHOTO
This Article was originally posted on www.phillytrib.com
When Tyree Dumas heard the critique of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter concerning the flash mob phenomenon in Philadelphia, he agreed and yet disagreed with what the mayor had to say.
“There was a lot of truth in what the mayor was saying,” Dumas said. “There are kids out there who are causing problems. But the bad thing about what the mayor said is that these kids are in the minority. There are both good and bad elements to the kids that get together for a flash mob. The good kids are just getting a text message, a message on their cell phone, and they are trying to just get with their friends and have a good time. These other kids, the bad ones, they are trying to get their buzz up and they make everyone look bad.”
Dumas is a social media maven. If you go to his website, dollarboyz.com, it introduces him as “Top Dollar, the biggest party promoter in Philadelphia. For all age groups,” and that is exactly what he wanted to be when he went into the business of promoting parties.
Last weekend, Dumas was on a panel at the University of Penn sponsored by the Hip-Hop Party for the People’s 2011 Convention. The panel was titled, “Why We Flash Mob.”
In recent months, Dumas has expanded his organization. Through the use of social media, Dumas wants to put his “motivational capabilities” to better use. He believes that it is his mission to motivate and educate members and expand their horizons.
Two weeks ago, Nutter, from the pulpit of Mount Carmel Baptist Church, told the congregation and news cameras that the flash mobs made up of Black youth have “damaged your own race.” Nutter was both criticized and lauded for his statements from African Americans and whites alike.
As a member of the peer support group Dollarboyz, 18-year-old Tyheek Hicks dances on the streets of the city with his friends. Sometimes there are hundreds of people in the crowd watching them, and it “gets us hyped.” He has been tempted to participate in flash mobs, but he knows that Dumas frowns on the activity.
Hicks also understands exactly what Nutter was talking about at Mount Carmel.
“I mean, can you blame someone?” Hicks responded when asked about the way the flash mobs have been received by angry citizens. “I mean, it’s not right to judge a book by its cover, but nobody wants to have what has been happening lately happen to them. Nobody.”
Tribune staff writer John N. Mitchell can be reached at (215) 893-5745 or