Next Level

Next Level is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Meridian International Center. Its mission is to use hip-hop music and dance to foster cross-cultural exchange in diverse communities.

Through Next Level programming, teams of four American hip-hop artist-educators – in collaboration with local organizations and musicians – facilitate workshops, demonstrations and master classes, along with formal and informal live performances. The goal is to promote the mutual sharing of knowledge, values, perspectives and respect between local populations and American artists.

Next Level offers a unique opportunity for overseas residents to develop their creative portfolio. They are guided by American artists in four hip-hop forms — beat making, dancing, DJing, and rapping — with secondary instruction in beat boxing and graffiti art. Participants are offered feedback and the opportunity to collaborate in live concerts and at public events, showcasing the cultural exchange that has taken place in the workshops. All activities are planned and executed with the purpose of promoting mutual understanding among people of different cultures, regions, generations, and personal identities. The program aims to deepen the international network of hip-hop artists and infuse artistic expression with the ideals of entrepreneurship and conflict resolution.

Since 2013, 85 artists have participated in the program. Next level has organized successful exchange programs in El Salvador, Colombia, Brazil, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Algeria, Tunisia and more. In 2017-18, the program will continue with visits to Azerbaijan, Burma, Egypt, Morocco and Vietnam.

Next Level Programs