Next Level: Peru


From February 2 to 15, 2020, four hip hop artists traveled to Peru as part of the Next Level program. Bboy Chase “Chase ‘Em Down” Evered, MC Queen Herawin, DJ PlayPlay, and Graffiti/Aerosol Artist Jon “Phez” Souza were joined by site manager Kane Smego to lead workshops with youth communities and collaborate with local artists to promote cross-cultural creative exchange and conflict transformation. Team Peru is part of a larger Next Level cohort of American MCs, DJs, beatmakers, and hip hop dancers seeking to create a 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 that promotes conflict transformation, entrepreneurship and artistic and professional development among younger and under-served audiences around the world.

The team started their journey in Lima, Peru and led workshops hosted by the University of San Marcos La Casona. The program’s final concert was held at the ICPNA Lima Binational Center auditorium. The team worked closely with Betesda Crew, a hip hop dance collective that hosts events, competitions and classes out of their studio, as well as D1 Dance, a dance studio that works with local street performers, and Callao Monumental, a visual arts organization. These organizations helped to foster community building and inter-generational dialogue within Lima’s hip hop scene, setting the stage for a productive Conflict Transformation Focus Day. The trip also included a mini-residency in El Carmen, Peru, with the famous Ballumbrosio family and a side program at San Juan de Lurigancho Youth Center.

In total, Next Level Peru was able to connect with more than 150 amount of people from the hip hop community through artist-educator collaborations and teamwork.

Project summary

Next Level: Peru | February 2020
Number of Visitors: 5
Regions: 2
Countries: 2
Impact Areas: 2
Program Areas: 1
Partners: 4