US Embassy Sponsors Hip Hop in Nepal
U.S. Embassy Kathmandu sponsored three hip hop artists from the Global Block Foundation targeting youth in Pokhara (approximately 200km west of Kathmandu) and the capital Kathmandu from March 1 to 6, 2010. This program was a part of the State Department’s Performing Arts Initiative. Global Block Foundation artists who visited Nepal were: Mr. Kima Hamilton aka “DJ Nutman,” Victor Mangrobang aka “B-Boy Victamone,” and Chris Sagayo aka “B-Boy Ika.”
In Pokhara 90 hip-hop enthusiasts attended workshops and more than 1,000 students enjoyed public exhibitions at their school premises. In Kathmandu 320 youth hip-hop enthusiasts attended six different workshops, master classes and lectures with themes ranging from “Origins of Hip-Hop” to “Basic Rhyme/Positive Expression.” In addition, 600 students in Kathmandu enjoyed an interactive public exhibition at their school. The group also participated in a jam session with local musicians in front of 250 music lovers. The Global Block Foundation’s program culminated in a night concert in conjunction with local artists and musicians with 300 audience members.
The Global Block Foundation’s mission (www.globalblock.org) is to harness the spirit of innovation, creativity and activism at the core of the Hip-Hop movement to empower youth and transform communities across the globe. Founded in 2008, the Global Block Project works closely with governmental, for-profit, not-for-profit organizations and individuals to deliver programs and resources to under-served communities throughout the world. Its Vision Statement reads, “Our work is guided by the vision that global change begins with individual activism and local investment in holistic, sustainable programs and initiatives. By bridging resources across nationality and culture, the Global Block Project provides real-time tools that people can use to grow their own futures where they live.” This was the Global Block Foundation’s first visit to Asia.
The community partners of the Global Block Foundation’s programs were A&S Events and Ideas, Nepal Music Center, Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, KatJazz Records, and Moksh.
The participants were principally youth (particularly high school aged students), musicians, educators, rappers, and dancers. Approximately 30% of all participants were female. One of the highlights of the week was the opportunity for the Global Block artists to collaborate with local breakdancing school students. At the Dance Cypher workshop over 17 local dancers participated in a competitive “battle,” which was judged by the Global Block artists.