Bogotá, November 20, 2020—ICTJ and the Movement of Latin American Hip Hop Expressions (MELAH) have joined forces to cohost the third International Hip Hop Encounter, which will take place virtually this week from November 25 to November 28. The four-day online event will bring together artists and musicians from across Latin America and Africa along with activists, social leaders, and civil society representatives. The festival’s theme is the role of hip hop music and culture in uncovering truth, preserving memory, and resisting violence and oppression and will include a live concert streamed online, prerecorded music recordings and videos, a virtual art exhibition, and themed panel discussions and working sessions.
Across Latin America and around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions implemented to curb its spread have not only exposed but exacerbated economic and social inequalities deeply rooted in historical injustices and exclusion. Meanwhile, the cultural sector including the live music industry have been all but brought to a standstill since March. In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to support and to strengthen cultural groups such as MELAH.
Created by Revista Cartel Urbano in 2017, MELAH offers Latin American hip hop artists a platform to exchange experiences as well as opportunities to share their music and other expressions of hip hop culture. The network also reaches out to marginalized neighborhoods to engage young people and inspire them to focus on their education and future, get involved civically, and actively improve their lives and communities. Today, more than 100 artists, social leaders, and entrepreneurs from all over the world belong to the network. MELAH has organized music and cultural festivals in Mexico City, Havana, Bogotá, and Medellín, convening artists, activists, changemakers, and members of the public for a celebration of music and culture and an exchange of ideas on the challenges and issues relevant to the hip hop movement and society in general.
ICTJ advances justice in societies emerging from conflict or repression and grappling with massive human rights abuses, helping them to break the cycles of violence and abuse and lay the foundations for peace, justice, and inclusion. As part of its mission, ICTJ frequently collaborates with youth activists and artists to help amplify their voices, increase their civic engagement and participation in transitional justice processes, and ensure they know the truth about their country’s past and actively shape the national narrative.
Artists at the festival will perform music and discuss the role hip hop culture can play in building peace, strengthening democracy, and uncovering the truth about past violations and ensuring victims are never forgotten. Guests include Colombian musicians La Etnnia, Jhonpri MC Systema Solar, Ruzto, and Specktra de la Rima; artists from across Latin America, such as Apolonia (Venezuela), Malena D' Lesio (Argentina), Rafuagi (Brazil), and Nakury (Costa Rica); and musicians Mj Martialo of Impact Positif from Côte d’Ivoire and Awa Bling from the Gambia, both countries where ICTJ works. They will join other artists, activists, and civil society representatives in online panel discussions, which will be simultaneously translated to English, French, and Spanish. MELAH will also launch the #ArteEnResistencia virtual art gallery, featuring street protest art from all over Latin America.
Audiences can view a livestream of the event on ICTJ's Spanish-language Facebook page at facebook.com/elictj.