To close out the year, six artist/educators from around the world were invited to the United States to participate in a wide range of workshops, panel discussions, jam sessions, and public performances. Each individual brings a distinctive combination of artistic expertise, educational experience and commitment to social activism.
Lilibeth Rodríguez Díaz, a/k/a MC Mariposa is a Cartagena-based MC who was first introduced to hip-hop culture via graffiti at the age of thirteen. At fifteen, she became an MC, and soon developed a commitment as a cultural leader to use her music to promote awareness and social transformation for conflict resolution. She is currently studying English at the Centro Colombo Americano de Cartagena, and working with Mesa Distrital de Hiphop de Cartagena, a local hip-hop advocacy organization. Mariposa is also a jewelry-maker and entrepreneur, and sells her work through her business, Butejerfly’s Accesorios.
Yas Werneck is an MC from Rio de Janeiro who brings all the experiences of her twenty- five years into her lyrics. Expressing her everyday experiences and observations though a combination of singing and rhyming, her music blends R&B with trap and neo-soul. She released her first EP, Hexagonal, in 2016. “Coméki,” one of the tracks on the EP, was recently featured on a mixtape released by Nike and world-famous Brazilian soccer player, Neymar, Jr. When she is not making music, she is studying and teaching math.
Mohammad Indra Gandhi a/k/a Domdom, the youngest of three siblings born in Bandung, West Java, a hip-hop producer and MC, as well as a professional skateboarder. He has been making beats as both a passion and a profession since 2003. His work has been featured in many independent film soundtracks and music videos. In addition to music, he has recently also begun to express himself through photography and videography.
Yacine Gouasmia a/k/a Yacine Poppin’ Pasta is a student, artist, and hip-hop dancer. Dancing from the age of twelve, he was propelled to fame after winning the acclaim of all three judges on the Arabs Got Talent television program. Always proud to represent his country as an artist, he was the winner of the International Battle of Mezghana in 2015 as well receiving several other awards from the Algerian Ministry of Culture. He has subsequently appeared on many radio and television shows, as well as in films, videos and advertisements. Despite his young age, Yacine has proven that he is a well-rounded artist, and as he always says, “… that’s just the beginning!”
Rami Mhazres a/k/a Supaflava is a hip-hop and club DJ from Tunis. He began his involvement in hip-hop at age sixteen, as a b-boy, before falling in love with the music and becoming a DJ. His work as a DJ includes touring throughout Tunisia with the rap group Empire, and performing for many b-boy battles organized by the local Art Solution Association, which promotes and supports hip-hop culture in Tunisia. In 2013, he also worked with the Danish NGO “Turning Tables” on a cultural project teaching basic DJ skills, and in early 2016, he became a member of FRD & Friends, a well-known DJ group in the Tunisian club scene. He is currently working on a solo project entitled “Kut n kreate” with the help of Art Solution, and giving free workshops in his community, sharing both his equipment and his expertise.
Mirta Ljulj a/k/a James (Zagreb, Croatia) became involved with hip-hop dance at the age of 15, when she was introduced to the funk style hip-hop dances of popping and locking. In 2007, she became a member of Funkee Sapiens Crew (Osijek), and began to travel and achieve recognition as a dancer both in Croatia and in the surrounding countries. In 2013, she became a member of a hip-hop collective from Sofia, Bulgaria called the Pop & Roll crew. In 2014, she founded a hip-hop association called “Mr. James” to advocate for youth in hip- hop. Since that time, she has led workshops, organized hip-hop events for youth, and taught in dance schools. As a great admirer and lover of hip-hop culture and all its elements, James uses hip-hop to advocate for the benefit of society and greater social unity.