Highlights from RAPOLITICS’ Hip-Hop Year 2014

Af Lucas Nielsen

We had a great year – and a very busy one. Here are some highlights!

Bringing Rap Knowledge to Students in Denmark

In 2014 we intensified our educational work in Denmark. We teamed up with our friends from Livsbanen and with the Municipality of Copenhagen and carried out a pilot project in schools in the island of Amager, bringing rap knowledge to the students. We are glad to announce that we will be repeating the project in 2015! Furthermore, for the first time ever school students visited us in GAME for a workshop about poetry, spoken word and rap.  We are, thus, supporting the implementation of the new school reform and contributing to the education of school students! We have know four educational packages for schools – and all can be booked through our website (in Denmark only). Some say that knowledge is hip-hop’s fifth unknown element. We are doing what we can to make it a central element in all our work!

Broadening our Hip-Hop Horizon

2014 was yet another year filled with hip hop adventures! We went to Libanon and Mali, finalized a project in Egypt and welcomed raptivists from South Sudan to Denmark.

We sent one of our RAPOLITICS-coaches to Mali to work on a DanChurchAid project. Mali is after the conflict in 2012 plagued by rising levels of armed violence and is also experiencing an increase in criminal violence. RAPOLITICS was invited to conduct a workshop in rap and dance for a month for young men whom are in particular danger of arming themselves. The workshops ended with a show together with the Malian rapper Tal-B. In addition, a CD was produced with the best 10 tracks from the workshop!

Two of our RAPOLITICS-coaches went to Lebanon in order to participate in Democracy Makers – a project developed by GAME in Lebanon. The project aimed at educating young people to become ambassadors of democracy through street basketball, street football, street dance and rap. RAPOLITICS was responsible for the training of the participants in rap with the aim of getting them to reflect on the society they live in and the opportunity of using rap to vocalize opnions, wishes and ambitions for themselves and their communities.

Can rap music contribute to peace and reconciliation in one of the world’s most conflict affected countries? Yes, it can! During the civil wars in Sudan thousands of orphaned boys ended as child soldiers in the hands of militant rebel armies. Much of the population fled the country or ended up as internally displaced persons. In 2011 Sudan was divided into two and as South Sudan celebrated its independence, manySouth Sudanesereturned with a strong commitment to build their new country. The rappers Mijok Lang (aka Hot Dogg), who has lived in exile for years, and Lual D’Awol (aka L.U.A.L.) are two of them. They use rap to tell their personal stories, to fight for peace and reconciliation and to make the world aware of the plights of South Sudan, which again is affected by conflicts. During the workshops in Denmark, the two rappers challenged – together with one of our RAPOLITICS-coaches – the participants to put rhythms and words to their thoughts and opinions.

Finally, we completed our project with Revolution Records in Egypt financed by the Danish Center for Culture and Development.The situation in Egypt is political unstable and there was – and is – still many challenges to overcome. However, our commitment to raptivism in Alexandria is still intact – and we are currently exploring how we can continue to support Revolution Records and the hip-hop movement in Alexandria.

Breaking Myths about Minorities in Denmark and Celebrating a Palestinian Fall

We were involved in two campains this year. During the Fall, we partnered with ActionAid Denmark in order to address the situation of Palestinians. Israel initiated a war on Gaza in July 2014 killing more than 2,000, wounded 10,000+ and displacing around 30% of its population. We have strong ties with raptivists in Gaza and followed the situation closely. It was very disheartning to witness the war without being able to anything. So we welcomed the initiative of ActionAid Denmark and partnered with them by doing a rap workshop and facilitating a dialogue with youth from Gaza trough the project Hope Spoken/Broken. Another campaign we were a part of was all about addressing the ocean of myths about the minorities living in Denmark through rap workshops in schools around the country. Educational material was produced for this campaign and the students wrote tracks about respect, tolerance and intercultural understanding. They were two very different campaigns indeed, but addressing some issues that we as an organization are greatly engaged in.

We also had two rap schools in Copenhagen – one only for girls and focusing on spoken word and poetryas well. And we could continue… 2014 was a great hip-hop year for us and 2015 is already looking very promissing.