From November 5 to November 17, 2014 hip hop artists Amirah Sackett (Dancer), Gabriel “Asheru” Benn (MC), Andre “DJ A-Minor” Barden (DJ), and beatmaker JocElyn Ellis (Beatmaker). The residency was hosted by the Edward M. Kennedy (EMK) Center in Dhaka. In additional to holding workshops in hip hop music and dance through the Next Level Academy, the artist-educators conducted outreach programs at the Blue Note Music Academy and the Jaago Foundation. Throughout their time in Bangladesh, the Next Level team conducted interviews for multiple radio, television,k and print outlets.
During the residency, the Next Level team also had the opportunity to visit a center founded by Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, and economist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Two of the artist-educators met Dr. Yunus personally and were able to discuss the Next Level program with him.
The final performance at the National Theatre Hall was attended by approximately 3,500 people, beyond the venue’s capacity, and filled with media outlets covering the show. The program included performances by Next Level artist-educators and student-collaborators and featured collaborations between South Asian Kathak dancers and modern urban dancers, as well as Bengali folk musicians and hip hop artists.
Team Bangladesh 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.