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Hip-Hop Diplomacy: State Department Using Urban Music To Push Racial Justice And Environmentalism Abroad

The federal government uses taxpayer funds to promote hip-hop abroad, sometimes with the aim of promoting a center-left agenda.

The State Department is funding 31 different programs across 23 countries to promote hip-hop as part of America's public diplomacy strategy, federal grant records show. show. Using hip-hop to promote democratic values, promote climate change activism, and promote diversity was among the efforts funded by the federal government.

State Department officials have approved nearly $700,000 in grants to promote hip-hop-related programs since the beginning of fiscal year 2021, according to spending records. (Related: Jamal Bowman launches 'Hip-Hop Power and Justice Task Force')

One such taxpayer-funded subsidy is “leverage.”[d] “The connections between spoken word and hip-hop, inherited from African ancestry, have fueled a more racially inclusive climate movement through environmental justice,” they wrote in Brazil. show. The grant, valued at $15,000, was paid to the Hip Hop Loves Foundation in September 2023. BLM promoter A nonprofit organization in New York that utilizes “hip-hop as a tool for social change.” according to Go to Facebook page.

Another grant, this time worth $17,000, will be used to “actively engage at-risk youth” in France by using hip-hop to “foster a sense of community engagement.” Grant records state that the disbursements were made by the State Department in October 2022 for the purpose of show. The grant also aimed to teach young people in France how to use hip-hop to “address social issues such as diversity, inclusion, and the environment.”

The ministry made another grant in 2022 to use “American hip-hop culture” in Israel as a “bridge between diverse communities.” according to To grant records.

The State Department has long promoted hip-hop as a vehicle for increasing American interest overseas. In 2013, the department supported the launch of Next Level, an initiative that aims to reduce violence in foreign countries by embracing hip-hop. according to Go to the program site. “The very existence of hip-hop can be understood as a form of transformation of conflict,” the program's website says.

“When a DJ and a beatmaker fight, they turn a physical confrontation into a sonic confrontation. When a B-boy and a B-girl (break dancer) challenge each other, their aggressive movements turn a fistfight into a dance. Replace. When MCs diss each other, they channel their anger into rhymes to vent. When aerosol artists create murals, they claim territory through art, not force,” the website says. Continuing.

The recent Next Level Initiative, funded by the State Department, aimed to promote “democratic values ​​such as civic education, youth leadership, and girls' empowerment.” [and] minority[y] “Inclusion” and reduce conflict by educating Romanians about hip-hop and subsidy records. show. The grant was approved in October 2022 and was valued at just over $15,000.

“American culture, and especially American music, is one of America's greatest exports. That's why for more than 75 years, the State Department has used music strategically to promote peace and cross-cultural connections. '' a State Department spokesperson told The Daily Caller News. Foundation.

“This year marks the 10th anniversary of Next Level, the department’s hip-hop music exchange program promoting peace and conflict resolution, which began in 2001 when President George W. Bush appointed Toni Blackmun as America’s first hip-hop ambassador. To this day, hip-hop continues to be a valuable diplomatic tool that allows the United States to reach young people around the world, while also supporting America's commitment to expanding access to education, economic opportunity, and equity. It also supports broader foreign policy objectives,” they continued.

The majority of State Department hip-hop grants since the beginning of fiscal year 2021 have been provided under the Department's Public Diplomacy Program initiative.

The initiative exists to “help achieve the foreign policy goals and objectives of the United States, advance national interests, and strengthen national security by informing and influencing the publics of foreign countries.” Masu. according to Go to the federal government's spending website.

The State Department did not immediately respond to DCNF's request for comment.

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