Hip Hop for Urban Peace Festival


Colombian rockstar and peace activist JUANES, just tweeted about our upcoming Hip Hop for Urban Peace Festival on Friday, October 12 at Rutgers University in Newark (the Plaza). If you are in New Jersey, Juanes wrote, don't miss the Hip Hop for Peace festival at Rutgers University in Newark.

How can we bring peace to urban areas marked by violence? How can we prevent youth violence? How can we engage young people in building peace in our neighborhoods? This has been the idea that motivated me to establish the International Institute for Peace at Rutgers University and which I announced at the Newark Peace Education Summit in May 2011. The short answer to those questions was suggested to me by my mentor and friend, the mayor of Palermo (Italy), Leoluca Orlando, who once told me: Peace Building, is Community Building. This has become the slogan of our Institute. This is our commitment to Newark!

The Hip Hop for Urban Peace Festival on Friday provides a space for young people in Newark to express their dreams and their experience about our times. As one scholar put it, hip-hop artists are the prophets of the hood. On Friday, we will listen to those prophets.


Here are some highlights of the program:

11:00 AM: Breakdance with the B-Boys  B-Boys Established in late 2008 The B-Boys are also known as FRC, FLOOR ROYALTY CREW.  FRC is a B-boy crew of like-minded individuals who share a strong passion for Hip Hop culture.   

12:00 PM: HIP-HOP CONCERT Reyes del Bajo Mundo is a Salvadorian hip-hop group. The group was formed in 1992. They are considered the original hip-hop pioneers of El Salvador and the first band to bring Salvadoran hip hop to mainstream radio, television, and newspapers, with their release of Estilo Imperial in 1997. Vida Urbana is an urban collective that is composed of radio, TV, rappers/MC's, Graffiti/tattoo artists, DJ's/Producers, and Break dancers. Rebel Diaz: with roots in Chicago but now based in the South Bronx in New York, the band Rebel Diaz combines classic boom bap tradition with Hip Hop's global impact. Because of its poignant social commentary and energetic performances, the group has caught also the attention of the academic world. Suicide RU: hip hop artist and rapper from Newark.

10:00AM-4:00PM: GRAFFITI WORKSHOPS Lorenzo Masnah: Lorenzo takes images from various printed media and intervenes them creating through them a new language. With simple lines and color schemes derived from the classic graffiti art and New York's influence of black and white outlines, he plays with the image respectfully. In these transfigured images appear various urban themes and concerns such as the situation of youth, violence in the media, and social difference. Nelson Rivas or Cekis, was born in Santiago Chile and belongs to the first generation of graffiti writers/street artists in South America. His work became a public influence in young Chilean street art scene in the late 90's. Right now he lives in Brooklyn NY where he works as a full time painter. He has done murals in different parts of the city and other countries; he has participated in numerous group exhibitions.

5:00PM: FREE MOVIE: "EL REGRESO DE LENCHO" and Panel with Director Mario Rosales and Hip Hop Artists, Essex Room, Rutgers University  El Regreso de Lencho. Lencho is a 30-year-old artist and graffiti writer who returns to Guatemala after living for a decade in New York. Eager to bring artistic expression to his home country silenced by over 30 years of civil war, Lencho assembles a collective of artists to produce public art projects of social impact. As its first activity, the group organizes a Street Art festival in Rabinal, a small indigenous town in the Guatemalan highlands. The group's work draws the interest of the chief of a secret "social cleansing" squad of the national police designed to squash dissension and organizing among the youth.   Mario Rosales, Artistic Director of the Hip-Hop for Urban Peace. Writer and director. Director of El Regreso de Lencho. Mario is a four-time Emmy Award winning producer. El Regreso de Lencho, presented at the HBO Latino Film Festival in New York in August 2011, is his first movie. 

This is the first edition of the Festival, and we are planning to host it every year and to bring it to communities in Newark and across New Jersey.

Please, spread the word among students, organizations, communities.... and I look forward to seeing you at one of the events of our Festival.



Aldo Civico

Founding Director

International Institute for Peace

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey