From February 2 to February 19, 2018, five hip hop artists traveled to Yangon, Myanmar as part of the Next Level program. Beatboxer Yazid “Benu Da Soothsayah” Muhammed, DJ Chris “DJ Trife” Williams, Dancer Ami Nicole “Tsunami” Ferreira, and MC Chane “Epiphany ‘Big Piph’” Morrow joined team manager Junious Brickhouse to perform for audiences and collaborate with local artists to promote cross-culture exchange and conflict resolution. The team is part of a larger Next Level cohort of twenty American MC’s, DJ’s, beat makers, and hip hop dancers leading exchange programs across the globe. You can read more about the artists here. See more videos of the team performing here.
Yazid (Benumerata) “Benu Da Soothsayah” Muhammad has been a hip hop performance artist for over 35 years. He is a hip hop lyricist, writer, poet, beatboxer, actor, and teacher. He has been instructing kids in various educational programs since 1994, with a heavy focus on creating vocal beats, writing (scripts, lyrics, poetry) and theatrical presentations.
In 2011, his hip hop group, Legacy, was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and Jazz at The Lincoln Center to go abroad on a North African cultural exchange program called the Rhythm Road tour, where they instructed kids in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Israel, Egypt, and South Sudan.
Benu Da Soothsayah is currently working with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s artist residency program, as well as constructing two one-man shows.
Junious “House” Brickhouse is Next Level’s co-director and is an internationally established, award-winning urban dance educator, choreographer, community leader, and cultural preservationist. A Virginia Beach, Virginia, native, Junious has a spent over twenty years in dance cyphers and on stages from Oakland, California to Helsinki, Finland, to Durban, South Africa. Now based in Washington, DC, Junious furthers his global mission through lecturing, performing, promoting conflict resolution, and producing events for Urban Artistry Inc.
As Founder and Executive Director of Urban Artistry Inc., Junious has inspired and created a movement of artists dedicated to the authentic preservation of urban dance culture and community while finding ways to responsibly innovate.
Ami Nicole “Tsunami” Ferreira is a Bay Area native who has performed and shared her passion through dance, movement, and art for over 30 years. A member of the SoulShifter (MVMNT) artistry collective and Circle of Fire group, Tsunami’s style derives from a fusion of house, hip hop, capoeira, and “b-girling” (breakdancing).
As a cultural diplomat and educator, she nurtures and supports the club culture and freestyle dance movement through performing, teaching, judging competitions, mentoring and co-organizing events, such as the R16 USA, All the Way Live and the Bay Area House Dance Festival.
She has also traveled to Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and El Salvador to share her passions with underprivileged dance communities and at-risk youth.
Chris “Trife” Williams is a New York City-based DJ, producer and turntablist. He earned national acclaim DJing for the Vans Warped Tour and notable hip hop artist Nelly.
Trife has made guest appearances on BET and Fuse TV. He also produced shows for VHI, Guitar Center, and ITF national DJ competitions.
Chane “Big Piph” Morrow is a Stanford-educated MC and community builder from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He performs regularly with his 7-piece band, Tomorrow Maybe, and has worked with major acts including TI, Big Sean, Snoop, and others.
He is lead coordinator of jUSt and Global Kids-Arkansas, which sends high-performing high school students from underserved communities abroad to do social service projects.
Big Piph facilitates hip hop workshops, is a noted speaker, and recently released “The Legacy Project,” an interactive app-based album.