Hip Hop and Graffiti: Reaching Out to At-Risk Youth

Posted by Della Hareland
April 15, 2011
Peruvian Students Participate in a Hip-Hop Graffiti Workshop

How do you reach new youth audiences to provide a positive message? How do you help juvenile offenders reintegrate into their communities? You use a language and activity they know and understand: hip-hop and graffiti. The U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru organized a two-day hip-hop and graffiti program in Lima and Chiclayo with U.S. Hip-Hopper Jose Collado, alias "Rey Chesta," and Peru's graffiti artist Alexis Villanueva, alias "Salsa," April 4 and 5. The artists held a workshop in El Agustino, one of the most dangerous areas of Lima with a high prevalence of drug use and gang activity, and another workshop in the provincial city of Chiclayo, an area with a high rate of delinquency.

Participants in the workshops were sixty 13- to 18-year-olds who are part of the Juvenile Restorative Justice Program (JRJP) led by NGO Encuentros Casa de la Juventud. When young people get in trouble with the law, the JRJP provides support for them from the time of arrest through the court process. The goal of the program is to promote reparation of the victim and to help the juvenile offender fit back into the community.

Both workshops were highly successful. The artists spoke openly about the positive nature of hip-hop and graffiti cultures and presented them as healthy alternatives to drugs, violence, and delinquency. The young people in El Agustino and Chiclayo enthusiastically welcomed the artists and their messages. The positive energy the workshops generated was contagious. "Salsa" and "Rey Chesta" showed how they use creativity to overcome personal challenges and contribute to their communities. They composed songs together with participants and offered to upload the songs on their websites.

The program offered a dynamic way to reach an audience that is hungry for opportunity and to introduce them to the United States and the U.S. Embassy in Lima.

Comments

Comments

Carly
May 9, 2011

Carly writes:

Thank you, U.S embassy in Lima, for putting on this great event. I think that this work is very important in creating a bright future for Peruvian youth and to grow a strong bond between our two countries. I recently attended a panel discussion at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, on this very same topic. Panamanian hip-hop artists, graffiti artists and beat boys came to share their art and talk about the hip-hop movement in Panama. They shared stories about how hip-hop helped them stay away from a more dangerous lifestyle and how it changed their friends' lives too. I strongly believe in the message the U.S. Embassy is sending out to the youth in Lima. Thanks for putting in the effort and caring about the quality of life in Peru.

Carlos
|
Peru
December 14, 2011

Carlos in Peru writes:

Woot. Wish I could've assisted... but oh well. I would like to know when & where the next event of this nature is going to take place, cuz I'm really interested in bip bop (as buddha stretch -hip hop pioneer- said it was originally called) culture. Thanks U.S Embassy!

PS: I got my student Visa from u guys, so thanks a lot! I wish someday I can actually go to the U.S so I can experience this culture first-hand!

Jeff
December 14, 2011

Jeff writes:

I think that this work is very important in creating a bright future for Peruvian youth and to grow a strong bond between our two countries. Panamanian hip-hop artists, graffiti artists and beat boys came to share their art and talk about the hip-hop movement in Panama. They shared stories about how hip-hop helped them stay away from a more dangerous lifestyle and how it changed their friends' lives too. I strongly believe in the message the U.S. Embassy is sending out to the youth in Lima. Thanks for putting in the effort and caring about the quality of life in Peru. Erene is truely hiphop

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