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Beyond the Four Walls

        Welcome to my website! It is with great joy that I announce the release of my book, Beyond the Four Walls: The Rising Ministry and Spirituality of Hip-hop. You can purchase the book as hard cover, soft cover or electronic version (i.e. Kindle). When purchasing my book, I recommend you buy it directly from my publicist, Author House, because it is more economical. Not to mention the profit share is higher which means I am able to provide more help to my youth. Oh, by the way, some of the profits from this book will be used to help pay for future retreats, mission trips and other service oriented projects for my youth. So please support!

        In addition to the book, this website serves as a portal that will inform all of you of future speaking engagements, book signings, parties, etc. So, please be on the look out for future events in a town near you! In addition to that, this website will serve as a place to promote up-and-coming artists, organizations and/or entities that are using the Hip-hop culture to create jobs, ministries and education. Peace and blessings!!

About Me

Walter Hidalgo

        Walter Hidalgo is currently working as an Associate Director of Youth Ministries for The Riverside Church in New York City. In addition to that, he teaches Spanish and History as an adjunct professor at Touro College in New York City. Walter Hidalgo holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Political Science from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and a Master of Arts degree in Church History and Society from Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University in New York City. He is a native Rhode Islander and currently resides in New York City. Walter is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Ministry in Transformational Leadership (with an educational focus) at New York Theological Seminary.


Here you can see all of the updates and informtion for Book Tours and speaking engagements etc... If you would like me to speak at your event feel free to send me an email using the contact form.

The Youth, Hip Hop and Holy Land Fundraiser
June 8th @ The Riverside Church

Come and support to send 4 NYC Youth to go to palestine/Israel for a spiritual, educational and life changing experience @ The Riverside Church.

Shepherding the Shepherd 2012
June 5th - 7th @ Boston University School

Walter Hidalgo will be presenting at the 2030 Clergy Conference at Boston University in early June! He will be one of the conferences keynote speakers where he will be performing and presenting on Youth Empowerment, Spirituality and of course Hip-hop!

Past Events

WordUp Books
September 9th @ Word Up Books

I will be performing and reading a short sample of my book on Friday September 9th at the Word Up Book Store on 176th street and Broadway in Manhattan beginning at 6pm ('till 9pm). Go to http://www.wordupbooks.wordpress.com to get more information about the Word Up Book Store. Hope to see you there! Peace!

To check out photos from the event click here.

5th Annual Dominican Book Fair Flyer
October 8th @ Boricua College

What: 5th Annual Dominican Book Fair
Where: Boricua College
When: Saturday October 8
Time: 2- 4:30
Cost: $0

I will be performing and presenting my book at the 5th Annual Dominican Book Fair. I will be accompanied by Tesfaye of United Mile Media, Kaila Paulino of Urban Word and Rammer Martinez Sanchez, my graphic designer! The event will be conducted in both Spanish and English. The event is on Saturday October 8th at Boricua College and will take place from 2:00-4:30. The event is totally free. See flyer for more information.

Riverside Church
October 12th @ The Riverside Church

I will be preaching at Space for Grace on the 12th of October. My sermon will focus on Matthew 19 13-15 and it will be titled: Beyond The Four Walls. This year Space for Grace turned 13 years old and it continues to attract people from all over the city and the world. Following the event you will be able to purchase and have signed copies of my book. You can get more information about Riverside Church, including directions, at The Riverside Church Website.

Riverside Church
November 6th @ The Riverside Church

Beyond the Four Walls: What it Means to be “the Church” and to “do Ministry” in Relationship to Hip-hop and Youth Culture. Riverside’s Youth Minister, Rev. Walter Hidalgo introduces his new book and discusses the creative ways that our contemporary hip-hop culture is used to help young people experience and express their faith. You can get more information about Riverside Church, including directions, at The Riverside Church Website.

Riverside Church
January 3rd @ The Riverside Church

I will be one of the presenters at the REAL event at the Riverside Church. REAL is the Riverside Emerging Artists League, that invites artists to share their work and participate in conversation about their creative process. There will be refreshments after the presentations. I will be there on January 3rd at 7:00 p.m. on the 15thfloor in the tower. You can get more information about Riverside Church,including directions, at The Riverside Church Website.

Riverside Church
February 4th @ One Mic, One Movement Conference, at The Lincoln Center Campus

I will be one of the presenters at the One Mic, One Movement conference, along with Daniel Gaztambide. Our presentation is entitled: A Minister, a Therapist, and a Mic: Integrating Hip-Hop and Spirituality in Counseling and Ministry with Ethnic Minority Youth. The One Mic Movement is composed of a series of academic lectures and interactive workshop to bring together Hip-Hop social scientists and to showcase Hip-Hop based interventions in a variety of diverse settings. You can register for the event at their website.

Spirituality and Empowerment Flyer
February 23rd @ El Fogon

This event is intended for artists, organizations, politicians, educators and anyone else who uses there gifts to change the world. This community gathering, or ekklesia (which is Greek for Church), serves not only to promote Hip-hop culture and music, but also its intellectual and spiritual dimensions via lyrics, music and fellowship. Autographed copies of my book will be available for purchase and there will be several opportunities between performances for folks to network. So, bring your business cards! Prize giveaways all night and all proceeds will go to the venue, FuntoSalud International and my trip to Africa to bring Hip-hop Education & Spirituality to a Church in Zimbabwe! Please join us! You can download the flyer here.

Push for Peace Flyer
April 28th @ Push for Peace

I, Walter Hidalgo-Olivares and the rest of the HnS Movement and collaborators will be present at this event in the Bronx on Saturday April 28, 2012! Come stop by our table where I will have copies of my book BEYOND THE FOUR WALLS as well as other information including information on our upcoming event at El Fogon Center for the Arts on Saturday May 5th! ALL youth should come out and its FREE!! Special Hip-hop artist appearances (can't say who, but its a WELL known artist!), MC battles, prizes, local politicians, performances, live radio and television broadcasting. Please join us

May 5th @ Folgon Center

On Saturday, May 5th, 2012 from 2pm until 8pm, The Hip Hop and Spirituality movement (HnS) and FUNTOASALUD International are reviving once more the Hip Hop culture in the South Bronx, this time, with a touch of live Visual Arts from local artists. During this edition, we are joining forces with Connected Spontaneity to bring to the community, The ART of Seeing: Hip Hop, Spirituality and Empowerment event, with live Art and graffiti as part of the program, all happening in a middle of an Art Exhibit, showcasing the most beautiful art produced by participating and emerging artists, silent Art auctions, “take your own photo” booth, interviews as well as raffles. This event will be held at El Fogón Center for the Arts, once again, the official artistic platform unfolding the second edition of Hip Hop, Spirituality and Empowerment.

Church For All Nations
May 12th @ Church for All Nations

Join us for CFAN’s Annual Community Celebration open to ALL! What a wonderful opportunity to network with the community. Enjoy special presentations by some of our friends and neighbors including gymnastic/trampoline exhibitions by LifeSport Gym, theatrical presentations from Different Directions, dancing from Tap Legacy Foundation and Moving Beauty, and music provided by Jazz Underground, Hell’s Kitchen Cultural Center, artists from The Stoop Concert Series, and MORE! Come and invite friends! Learn more at our website.

may14 flyer
May 14th @ OSP 21st Century Magnificant

Walter Hidalgo speaks, performs and gives away copies of his books to single mothers as he discusses Motherhood, Spirituality, Hip-hop and Empowerment!


Welcome to the Press Release Page. Here you will find links, pictures and videos regarding book related events with the most recent on top. Please feel free to share these links, photos, etc. to your respective organizations and social media outlets. Thanks for stopping by!!!


The following are a series of pictures from the different projects I have worked on. More to come soon.


Here you can find videos from different performances and events that I have attended.

Space for Grace on October 12th

Preaching for the first time in his life, Walter Hidalgo focuses on the Biblical scripture Matthew 19:13-15 to spread the message about his recently published book: Beyond the Four Walls: The Rising Ministry and Spirituality of Hip-hop. Hidalgo says, "Hip-hop helps to provide safe and sacred/spiritual spaces for our youth because "the kingdom of God belongs to people such as these." Space for Grace at the Riverside Church in Harlem became a night filled with cheers, hugs, book sales, book signings and an amazing performance by HBO Lyricist Shanelle Gabriel.

    – Video by Timothy Jaocbs.

One Mic, One Movement on February 4th

On Saturday Febraury 4th 2011 at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Services, Walter Hidalgo, Candidate for the Doctorate of Ministry at New York Theological Seminary, and Daniel Gaztambide, Candidate for the Doctorate of Psychology at Rutgers University, presented for the first annual conference entitled, One Mic, One Movement: Advances in Hip-hop Therapy and Psychology. This conference brought together a host of people from different fields—including theology—as well as many networking opportunities and several performances. Our presentation was entitled, A Minister, a Therapist, and a Mic: Integrating Hip-hop and Spirituality in counseling and Ministry with Ethnic Minority Youth.

    – Video by Timothy Jaocbs.

Hip–Hop Career Day Panel on February 4th

On March 3, 2012, Walter Hidalgo, HnS Movement and author, Rasheed Goodlowe, End of the Weak and engineer, and Myrtho Gardiner, Beats, Rhymes and Life and social worker, facilitated the first ever Hip-hop panel as part of the 21st Annual Career Day festivities at the Riverside Church in New York City. The theme of this event was entitled, Being Better Than You Believe. And so, this panel represented the multiple dimensions, entrepreneurial opportunities and innovative ways that Hip-hop can become a career for next generation.

    – Video by Timothy Jacobs.

Walter Hidalgo Interview/Performance

Walter Hidalgo was interviewed during HnS first event which was held on February 23, 2012 @ El Fogon in da Bronx entitled: Hip-hop, Spirituality & Empowerment. What is Hip-hop and Spirituality and how does it influence your work was just a few questions that were being discussed. Other interviews included performances by artist such as Majesty, DDS and Tesfaye.


Check out my book featured in the East Harlem Journal.
Check out this blog post that was written about me and my book by Dianne Glave. You can check it out on her blog Being Ephesus.
Check out this Blog Post about my book on KineticsLive, Faith. Dialogue. Motion.
Check out the book on Poets and Writers.
Check out the book on Book Club Queen.
Check out a review of my book on the Englewood review.
Teens Complete WANTED Program.
Top Young Speakers for Young People.

Up and Coming Artists

Shanelle Gabriel
Shanelle Gabriel

Shanelle Gabriel has been labeled a virtuosa, and she definitely validates that statement as a soulful singer, a gifted writer, astounding actress, and advocate for Lupus awareness. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, she has displayed her skills at colleges and venues both nationally and internationally. Frequently compared to Lauryn Hill and the super duo Floetry wrapped-in-one, Shanelle's tenacity has allowed her to become a shining star in any path she treads.

Shanelle both opened and featured on the 6th season premier of HBO's Def Poetry Jam along with Jill Scott and DMX. She recorded a nationally televised promo for the 2007 NFL Draft. She shared the stage with Nas for his 2008 album release concert for "The N Word," and featured in Q-Tip's video for "ManWomanBoogie." She was a member of the 2006 Nuyorican Poets Cafe...
To learn more about Shanelle Gabriel visit her website at ShanelleGabriel.com

Timothy Jacobs
Timothy Jacobs

Timothy Jacobs is an upcoming independent filmmaker and photographer. He started working at the Metropolitan Opera for five years before moving into a more film based career path. He was an intern at Harlem Talking where they produced a short film celebrating 100 years of the Crisis Magazine and presented it at the NAACP Annual Meeting. He is currently working as an intern at Storyville Films and is involved in a few side projects. One of which is working on a documentary about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and what Americans can do about it. To learn more about him check out his website at TBJFilms.com

Rammer Martinez Sanchez

Rammer Martinez Sanchez is a a comic artist and graphic designer. He has worked on books, comic books, cd covers, film and animation. He helped design the cover of my book so If you like his work you can check him out on his Smoky Mirrors Blog.

Anibal Farran
Anibal Farran

Anibal Farran is a man of many talents. He is a photographer and graphic designer based out of Brooklyn, New York. He has worked with many musical artists such as the Suns, Sugartime and My Happy Gun. He has also worked on a variety of musical events around the city. Most recently, he was the photographer of my book so if you like what you see please check out his website at NewYorkEdition.net

Dorsett Clark Davis
Dorsett Clark Davis

Dorsett Davis is a teacher and photographer who recently moved from New York City to North Carolina. She teaches history, economics, and hip hop theater, and is currently rebuilding her sports and event photography business. A long-time fan of slam poetry and hip hop theater, culture, and history, Dorsett's mission is spreading appreciation and understanding of true hip hop-- giving voice to the voiceless and confronting social issues such as racism, poverty, and the contempt or disrespect associated with ignorance of hip hop's many positive goals and aspects. She keeps a blog on the adventures of being a preacher's wife, living in the rural south, teaching, and the challenges of opening minds: A Care in the World. She is one of the editors of my book and can be reached at: dorsett.davis@gmail.com.

Evans Erilus
Evans Erilus

Evans Erilus is a Community Director at Brown University. He Received his Undergraduate (BS, Journalism) and Graduate (MS, College Student Development & Counseling) at Northeastern University, where he was heavily involved in print and online media. He is one of the editors of my book and can be reached at evans.erilus@gmail.com

Mystery Muzik
Mystery Muzik

Providence, Rhode Island's MYSTERY is an artist with an old soul; reminiscent of the nostalgic golden era in hip-hop when talent superceded image. For hip-hop fans hungry for music with substance and mature content, look no further than his latest release titled "THE PASSION". "THE PASSION" is an autobiographical album, highlighting MYSTERY'S personal struggles and triumphs against the odds. His passioniate delivery gives listeners a rare in-depth look into his enigmatic life and a tour through the complex mind of an introspective artist. Learn more about him at his website.

Honorable George Marinez
Honorable George Martinez

The Honorable George "Rithm" Martinez is a motivational hip hop performance artist. Founder of the Global Block Foundation, he is an award-winning artist, activist, educator and a political pioneer. He is the first Hip Hop artist/activist elected to a political office in the United States and is a former Doctoral Fellow of Political Science at the City University of New York. George is also a founding board member of the Blackout Arts Collective and since 2007, he has served as a US Cultural Envoy/Hip Hop Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State, working with youth throughout Latin America. Learn more about him at his website.

Aurora Anaya-Cerda
Aurora Anaya-Cerda and the La Casa Azul Bookstore

Grounded in Latino culture, La Casa Azul Bookstore is dedicated to providing cultural, and educational programs via literature and art in East Harlem. It is our vision to foster public awareness and appreciation of the arts by being a focal point where people come to find unique gifts and participate in culturally-based workshops that celebrate Latino traditions. Learn more about the La Casa Azul bookstore and Aurora Anaya-Cerda through her website.


In a time where many claim that "real" Hip-Hop is close to extinction, some artists remind us that this is far from the truth. Majesty stands amongst the next generation of prophets and messengers pushing the envelop of the art-form. Born on the gritty streets of Washington Heights in New York City, Majesty, a product of the Cuban Revolution has been writing poetry since age 5 and performing in venues all over New York City since age 13.

East Harlem Journal
The Educational Pledge

Alberto O. Cappas, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The East Harlem Journal
an Online Newspaper serving East Harlem
PO Box 581, Triborough Station
New York,, NY 10035
Email: eharlemjournal@aol.com
Tel. 212-860-2019 / Cell. 646-248-2302

FUNTOSALUD International
FUNTOSALUD International

Alba Mota, Principal Coordinator/Coordinadora of BHM to DR/Haiti
Co-founder FUNTOSALUD International/Principal Coordinator

El Fogon Center For The Arts
El Fogon Center For The Arts

Sam Brooks
Co-owner of El Fogón, Center for the Arts
989 Home Street
Bronx, NY 10459


Beyond the Four Walls

Beyond the Four Walls

The Rising Ministry and Spirituality of Hip-Hop

       Hip-hop is creating an expanding ministerial and spiritual movement that is changing the socio-historical landscape on a national and global level. From the streets of its birthplace in the South Bronx to the barrios of Colombia in South America; Hip-hop is helping to create sacred spaces that are providing purpose to our marginalized youth and young adult street populations. Beyond the Four Walls: The Rising Ministry and Spirituality of Hip-hop serves as both an autobiographical and ethnographical journey of my love and experiences with Hip-hop as a professor, youth minister and artist.

       I invite the reader to explore my outlook on Hip-hop, which reaches far beyond the scope of its music, commercialization, and “hood life.” Instead, it takes another look at the unprecedented impact that Hip-hop continues to have in both our secular and spiritual communities. Because of its ongoing commitment to community organizing, activism, social justice and education, Hip-hop is worthy to be called a 21st Century socio-political, theological and spiritual movement, akin to that of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Mohammed, Abraham, Archbishop Oscar Romero, and most notably in this book, Jesus Christ and Paul the Apostle.

Free Preview

       The summer of 2007 was coming to an end and I was about to embark on one of life’s most challenging roads: graduate school. Not knowing exactly what I was getting into, I decided to attend a two-year graduate program to study theology (more specifically, Church History and Society) at Union Theological Seminary (UTS) at Columbia University in New York City. What I, a Roman Catholic, heterosexual, first-generation Latino man from the South Side of Providence, Rhode Island experienced in and out of these academic walls would eventually change my life forever.

       While studying at UTS, I began to see how God was bringing me together with other people of diverse backgrounds to discuss the common realities of our times—poverty, homelessness, racism, etc. Over time, it became clear to me the importance of having a dialogue with the very thing that defines us as humans—our society. Consequently, I made the decision to break through the “bubble” or “box” that I was living in order to reach out and help (more broadly) my brothers and sisters. This epiphany was the reason I came to admire the efforts that are being made by the Ecumenical Movement. Ecumenical by definition suggest a unity between the various denominations that exist within Christianity. One can go as far as to say this unifying ideology includes other

world religions as well, such as Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. Regardless of the definition of Ecumenical, love of God, love of self and love of neighbor are considered to be fundamental characteristics of every faith because they serve as emblems for justice, peace, truth and unity!

       For me, togetherness is God. But to come together, we first need to understand that God has presented Himself to people based on their own sociopolitical, economical, historical and cultural realities. In other words, God speaks to us in different ways but He expects all of us to do the same thing—to bring God’s Kingdom a little closer to earth.

       Throughout my time at UTS, I’ve learned that God can be encountered in many places outside of the church. For example, I was able to experience God’s presence in many “unusual” places like supervised therapy sessions, travel seminar classes to places like Colombia in South America, and weekly meetings to discuss community-related issues by a group of women who were formerly incarcerated—just to name a few. Yes, Church is a place where we can talk to and encounter God. However, I would be lying to myself if I were to say that God’s spirit is limited to the four walls of the Church and therefore is unable to reach out to the broader secular places of our world.

       For me, there is no separation between God and human beings no matter where they are, who they are and how they do worship. It is what I perceive to be God’s spirit that brings people together to talk about life, happiness, sadness, anger, hope and love. In my view, one of the best platforms for intersecting God with our society is Hip-hop music and culture.

       Hip-hop has always served as a platform for people of diverse backgrounds, especially those that are living in the margins of our societies. Its dialogical style of rhyming, free-styling, graffiti art work, dance and DJ-ing are like magnets to the millions of people who embrace it. When openly received, it creates a spiritual, sociopolitical and grassroots-centered consciousness that unifies all of God’s people.

       Hip-hop has had such an impact in our world because it has given countless silent voices the ability to be heard and to be part of this historical meta-narrative. Throughout my existence here on earth, I have seen the positive influences of Hip-hop music and culture in the following ways: graffiti art work to demonstrate the oppressive/negative side of politics in Geneva, Switzerland; alternative programs for Colombian inner-city youth who are struggling with guerrilla army recruitment; and continuous contributions to academia using performances and workshops to convey lessons to students in schools like Columbia University.

       In reality, this book can be interpreted in many ways—all depending on the reader of course. For some, it may be viewed as an interesting read while for others it may be viewed as wishful thinking. But for many, including myself, this is a book about how Hip-hop helps to bring the spirit of God to youth ministers, professors, clergy, politicians, activists, not-for-profit organizations, academic institutions, prisons, the projects, the Gaza strip, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, to the elders, to the youth, etc.

       To a larger extent, this book serves as a testimony to my experiences growing up listening to Hip-hop and living in an environment similar to that which is portrayed in many songs in the Hip-Hop culture. When I think about my experiences growing up and my experiences at UTS (especially the research that I did for my masters thesis on Hip-hop), I would say that I bring to the table the best of both worlds—the scholarly knowledge that is learned in the academic world and the wisdom that is acquired in the streets.

       Because of Hip-hop, I have been given the opportunity to visit many places throughout the world and to meet so many incredible human beings. For all these opportunities and more, I thank God for bringing Hip-hop into my life!

Contact Me

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"If you’re a Hip-hop lover, then you need to read this book!” –– Myrtho Gardiner of Beats, Rhymes and Life 501(c)
“Beyond the Four Walls presents Hidalgo as the youth minister that you’d actually want for your teenagers: He’s committed to engaging the world in a way that makes a difference, and he does this by addressing the needs of the youth in his life in a way that they can relate to (without engaging in facile pandering).” –– Englewood Review