From March 12th to 26th, 2017, hip hop artists Trinise “AtLas’” Crowder (MC), Brian “DJ Raydar” Ellis (DJ), Daniel “King Khazm” Kogita (beatmaker), and Jacob “Kujo” Lyons (dancer) joined site manager Kane Smego in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as part of the Next Level program. In Brasilia, the artist-educators performed in a jam session/flashmob event with local hip hop artists and offered workshops on dance, emceeing, DJing, and beatmaking. The students who participated in the workshops were invited to perform alongside the Next Level artist-educators and members of the local artist community in a concert that attracted hundreds of audience members over the course of the show.
The Next Level Academy in Rio was hosted by Galpão Aplauso, an NGO that works with at-risk youth and promotes social inclusion through the arts. Student-collaborators attended one of four workshops for the duration of the Academy (dance, emceeing/rapping, DJing, or beatmaking) in addition to workshops on conflict transformation and entrepreneurship. The Villalobos Music School also hosted a Next Level team performance and Q&A session with their students, faculty, and members of the public. The Next Level team was also invited to appear and perform on Brazil’s biggest talk show, Encontros com Fátima Bernardes, which was broadcast on Brazil’s largest television network.
Following the final performance at Galpão Aplauso, the Next Level team visited a community youth center, Centro de Referência da Juventude, in Cidade de Deus. The artist-educators gave a presentation on hip hop history, followed by a performance and jam session along with artists from the community itself. Several students from the Academy sessions at Galpão Aplauso attended and performed as well. Leaders of the center and of the community showed the Next Level team around the neighborhood and explained the role that hip hop has played in organizing youth in the community, and providing them with opportunities for self-expression, personal growth, and entrepreneurship.
Team Brazil 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.