18 Oct: Culture, conflict, change


As part of Nafasi Week UK, In Place Of War is showcasing some of the world’s most groundbreaking artists, activists and creative entrepreneurs from areas of conflict, post-conflict and humanitarian disaster.

IPOW has invited a group of international cultural producers from Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, DR Congo, Brazil, India and more to London to speak at Richmix alongside some of the UK’s most prolific artists and social commentators.

Each speaker will deliver a talk on creative activism, cultural production, cultural spaces and digital.

Speakers include:

Karina Goulordova, Creative Space, Lebanon
Mc Benny Acholi Muding, Northern Uganda HipHop Culture-NUHC, Uganda
Robert Mũnũku, Mau Mau Collective, Kenya
Fabio Pedroza, Moreis Convida, Brazil
Dan Glass, The Glass Is Half Full, UK
Lorraine Charlotte Bgoya, Magamba Network, Zimbabwe
Miqueas Figueroa, Tiuna El Fuerte, Venezuela
Laurent Kasindi, Search for Common Ground, DR Congo
Fenella Dawnay & Kirstin Shirling, Good Chance Theatre, UK
Felipe Altenfelder, Fora Do Exio, Brazil
David Heinemann, Index on Censorship, UK
Harnaman Singh Mehta, India
Jonny Hesketh, The Yellow House, UK

When: 18 October, 12-6pm
Where: Richmix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA Date
Entry: Free. Email [email protected] to register.

The power of hip hop: More than just guns and girls

When you hear the words “hip hop”, you may think about girls, guns and the other usual stereotypes that haunt the genre. Your mind is much less likely to wander to the dusty tomes of academia. Yet if the Power of Hip Hop proved anything, it’s that through a unique mix of academic presentations and live performances, hip hop’s capacity for facilitating social change across the world is undeniable.

The two-day event, co-organised by Index on Censorship and In Place of War, began with a day of academic presentations that proved hip hop is as worthy an avenue of study as any other musical genre. A new paper by Veronica Mason, a lecturer at London Metropolitan University who spoke at the event, will be the first inter-generational study of hip hop in academia, and having a platform to share that with other hip-hop academics is invaluable.

Then came a day of performances from the likes of Zambezi News, two satirists and hip hop artists from Zimbabwe who had the whole venue laughing over their impression of Mugabe, and Shhorai, a Colombian MC and microbiology researcher. Shhorai rhapsodised about being in the UK, telling Index how willing Londoners are “to give you a hand, to smile, to help you”. In fact, this solidarity that In Place of War has helped to cultivate over the past decade seems to have generated a real sense of female solidarity in Shorrai: “We need to support each other because it’s the only way that we’re going to move forward.”

When asked what the Colombian touch in hip hop was, her answer was immediate: “The best exponents of Colombian hip hop are great freestylers. But there are very few women because the battles are sexist. The guys just say ‘it’s a gathering of witches, nothing more.’”

But no one had anything negative to say in RichMix when she performed along with Poetic Pilgrimage, a frank, Muslim female duo. In fact, the audience went on to happily digest what was an appropriately heavy second day of the event when figures like Afrikan Boy and Rodney P freestyled about the recent shootings in the US. Having talked about how “music is my visa”, the gang-ridden streets of Afrikan Boy’s youth seemed closer than ever as he talked about seeing Alton Sterling’s bereaved son break down at the press conference. “I had to just sit down and cry those tears. It struck me as a father. I thought – my life’s going to get taken away for that?”

“No justice, no peace, persecute the police,” was the thoughtful, provocative refrain of his rap that held the audience in the palm of his hand.

A genre that began with a party Bronx in the 1970s has, without a doubt, gone on to transform lives across the world. Whether you grew up in Colombia or London, Zimbabwe or Bristol, it is a genre that enriches the impoverished, educates the deprived and represents the unrepresented. After such an empowering weekend, all that’s left to wish for is that their voices will be heard.

More from the Power of Hip Hop:
– Poetic Pilgrimage: Hip hop has the capacity to “galvanise the masses”
– Colombian rapper Shhorai: “Can you imagine a society in which women have no voice?”
– Zambezi News: Satire leaves “a lot of ruffled feathers in its wake”
– Jason Nichols: Debunking “old tropes” through hip hop

8-9 July: The power of hip hop


Since its birth in the Bronx in the 1970s, hip hop has made its mark. Today, graffiti artists, MCs, breakdancers and DJs across the world are still using the medium to empower themselves, from women in Columbia and political movements in Burkina Faso, to aiding the fight for free speech in Zimbabwe and challenging religious stereotypes in the UK.

Index on Censorship has teamed up with In Place of War to create two unique full-day events that provide an opportunity to listen to, learn from and collaborate with 14 world-changing hip hop artists from eight different countries.


The Power of Hip Hop: Exchange / 8 July

A multi-disciplinary full-day academic conference that considers hip-hop’s role in revolutionary social, political and economic movements across the world.

The Power of Hip Hop: Exchange will explore the role, challenges and potential of hip-hop culture in facilitating positive social change in global contexts, and its role as a site of resistance and identity.

The day features academic panels, keynote papers, artist performances and practitioner presentations. This event harnesses In Place of War’s vast international network of grassroots artists and University of Manchester origins, to explore issues including hip hop and gender, race, religion, commerce, and conflict.

When: 8 July 2016, 10.00 – 18.30 (registration 9.30)
Where: Richmix, London (map)
Tickets: £45/£36 concessions – lunch, refreshments and delegate packs included (buy online)
Promo Code: “hiphop15” (£15 ticket). Can be redeemed online at checkout, over the phone or at the box office.

IPOW spare image

The Power of Hip Hop: Live / 9 July

A day of TED-style talks and live performance. Join 14 of hip hop’s most revolutionary artists from across the world for a mix of music, dance, rap, DJing, VJing, exhibitions and satire.

From local grassroots initiatives to multi-national citizen movements, you’ll hear stories of how hip hop is changing the world first-hand. You’ll encounter the artists performing live. And you’ll have chances to meet the speakers throughout the day, before a DJ set and drinks to end it.

Featuring Index on Censorship’s inaugural Music in Exile fellow Smockey (Burkina Faso), Rodney P (UK), Zambezi News (Zimbabwe), Wade Waters (USA), Poetic Pilgrimage (UK), SYMBIZ (Germany), Shhorai (Colombia), Afrikan Boy (UK/Nigeria) and more.

When: 9 July 2016, 12.00 – 19.30 (doors 11.30)
Where: Richmix, London (map)
Tickets: £20/£15 concessions (buy online)
Promo Code: “hiphop10” (£10 ticket). Can be redeemed online at checkout, over the phone or at the box office.