By Michron Robinson
A variety of Barbados’ best in spoken word, rap and graphic design now have international certification under their belts because of the US Embassy’s Next Level Programme in association with the National Cultural Foundation (NCF).
During a free concert last Saturday to rejoice the 2 weeks of intense training names like Jamal Dawe, Cyndi Celeste, Adaeze, Stoned with Cupid, Ruby Tech, HAT and Nicholi Charles showed up and showed out and they honestly represented well.
Acting Public Affairs Officer with the US Embassy Simone Kendall told Barbados TODAY that it was phenomenal seeing the 2 cultures gel together.
“We were so excited to see a yr of planning coming to fruition, to see the extent of exchange not only music however the culture between hip hop from America to Bajan music and influence, to see the ties from [our projects] and the Mudda Sally incorporated – to not only the artistes… it has been beautiful to see all of this come together,” she said.
Well-known graphic artist and dressmaker Charles described it as “an awesome” experience.
“Seeing these come here and introducing us to other mediums has been awesome.
“I’m a fantastic artist using paint and paint brushes but I used to be introduced to Jay and he showed me the right way to use the spray cans and he spread a whole lot of knowledge by way of hip hop and the history of graffiti,” Charles explained.
“These are things that I didn’t really know although I studied fantastic art at Community College, I used to be probably not introduced to spray paining or murals, murals is something that I began to do but this programme has been awesome, meeting all of the various artists from different backgrounds and different lifestyles,” he added.
Dancer Damon Boucher said that the programme fulfilled all of his expectations and more.
“The programme was great to be quite honest, it really hit all of what I used to be expecting and what I actually liked about it was that it felt like a protected space and I can say that from the underside of my heart as someone who doesn’t really [put themselves out there]. This space felt really free only for you to specific yourself and learn a bit more about hip hop culture,” he explained.
While leading well-known dancer Jamal Dawe said that the energy was smooth-flowing from the start.
“From day one it was full hype, just full vibes from day one. I’m a individual that I feel vibes and I felt every one in all the educators’ vibes from the get-go and I could tell that it was pure niceness.
:Their willingness and love for the humanities just drew me closer to them and the art of dance especially,” Dawe said.
“I reinforced something that I knew before as we went back to fundamentals that are very essential.
“What we did the primary two days was hip hop [which was well received] and my passion for hip hop has grown much more,” the longtime dancer added with enthusiasm in his voice.
Most of the artistes are looking forward to possibly travelling to Texas within the near future as a part of the Next Level initiative.