Algeria & Tunisia
From February 5th to 25th, 2017, five artists traveled to Tunis, Tunisia and Algiers, Algeria, as part of the Next Level program. MC Nahshid “One Be Lo” Sulaiman, DJ Nick “81Neutronz” Low-Beer, Beatmaker Nicholas “Decap” Piantedosi, and Dancer Tara “Big Tara” Crichlow joined team manager Paul Rockower to perform for audiences and collaborate with local artists to promote cross-cultural creative exchange and conflict transformation.
In Tunisia, the Maison des Jeunes, a local youth center, hosted the Next Level Academy and final performance. Through the Next Level Academy, the artist-educators conducted workshops on dance, emceeing, beatmaking, and DJing, in addition to entrepreneurship, social issues, and conflict transformation. The artist-educators also participated in a discussion on community-building and entrepreneurship through music. Throughout the residency, many prominent Tunisian media outlets covered the program as well as the final concert. Before the final performance, local graffiti artists painted a large mural which was then used as the concert’s backdrop. The mural, which spelled out “Next Level Tunisia,” combined elements of both the Tunisian and U.S. flags.
In Alegeria, the Next Level Academy was hosted by the Institut Superieur des Metiers des Arts du Spectacle (ISMAS). During the residency, the artist-educators, along with Next Level’s Founding Director Mark Katz, led a discussion panel at the Embassy’s Information Resource Center. Approximately 50 members from the local community attended the lively discussion, which touched on a variety of topics, including the history of hip hop, the elements of hip hop, and broader issues related to music and the arts. Over 500 people attended the Next Level Academy’s final show at Algiers’ prominent Theatre Ibn Zaydoune. The concert was so well-received that many of the Algerian student-collaborators, including the entire MC class, were invited back by the Theatre Ibn Zeydounne for a follow-up performance the following month.
Team Algeria & Tunisia is part of a larger Next Level cohort of American MCs, DJs, beatmakers, and hip hop dancers seeking to create global community through hip hop culture.