Next Level: Bolivia

From March 7th to March 15th, 2020, five American hip hop artists traveled to Bolivia as part of the Next Level program. Beatmaker The Phronetic, Dancer ShinobiJaxx, DJ Fabian Farbeon” Saucedo, and MC Tauheed Marco Pavé” Rahim II joined team manager Junious Brickhouse to perform for audiences and collaborate with local artists to promote cross-cultural creative exchange and conflict transformation. Team Bolivia is part of a larger Next Level cohort of American MCs, DJs, beatmakers, graffiti artists, and hip hop dancers seeking to create global community through hip hop culture. 

Next Level, a cultural diplomacy program that uses hip hop to create connections, is an initiative of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Meridian International Center. The program promotes conflict transformation, entrepreneurship, and artistic professional development among younger and underserved audiences around the world. 

 The residency partnered with mARTadero, a Cochabamba-based arts center that provides workshops on various artworks to community members. mArtadero hosted the teams workshops, which were attended by 64 local artists, as well as the final performance. On the last day of workshops, team members led activities and discussions about conflict transformation and entrepreneurship in their respective fields. 

 The team had the opportunity to visit the Centro Boliviano-Americano Binational Center to provide programming for English-language students. The artists chaired a panel as students asked questions about life as a scholar-practitioner in hip hop and womens leadership and activism.  

 Although the trip was cut short by the COVID-19 outbreak, the team was able to build meaningful relationships with leaders in the Bolivian hip hop community. Organizations such as Urban Soul Dance studio, Revolution Dance Studio, and Millennium Dance Studio partnered with Next Level. Additionally, DJ Gonchy, a Cochabamba artist, invited the team to his home, where they learned about the history of Bolivian hip hop and where he gifted recordings of classic Bolivian funk and soul as well as Bolivian flag. 

Project summary

Next Level: Bolivia | March 2020
Number of Visitors: 5
Regions: Western Hemisphere
Countries: Bolivia
Impact Areas: Cultural Diplomacy
Program Areas: Culture
Partners: Public Sector