|This short video documents a hip-hop school in the large and overcrowded barrio of La Vega in the hillsides of Caracas, Venezuela. Filmed in the months of July and August in 2010, it features interviews and performances by those involved in the school known as EPATU (Popular School for the Arts and Urban Traditions).
Hip-Hop La Vega. Caracas, Venezuela from Caracazo Media on Vimeo.
The two main performances by the students, which are not translated due to the poetic nature of the lyrics, are summed up below.
In the first performance, 19-year-old Karine discusses the exploitation of women and the violence caused by gender inequality. In the second song, 12-year-old Alejandro performs for his first time in front of hundreds of spectators. The song, which he wrote just weeks after joining the school, is called “The Empire” and discusses the systemic poverty caused by imperialism. His chorus is a call for others to keep their heads raised and struggle against the inequalities.
While I was the editor, the youth often took charge of the camera and some of their footage is incorporated into the short film. Below is an article that better explains the background behind the nation-wide movement known as EPATU.
Hip-Hop lives on in Venezuela
It is 7:00 on a Wednesday evening in Caracas’s southern barrio known as La Vega. In a small classroom lined with worn-out wooden desks, youth of all ages sit and listen to a local DJ talk about the historical roots of hip-hop culture. After the discussion is over, the youth quickly disperse and hip-hop beats begin blasting as dancers practice their footwork and emcees prepare to show off their latest rhymes.