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Bringing "Hip-Hop Diplomacy" To NC

Six international artists in North Carolina this week demonstrate that international diplomacy can come in many different forms. While many may imagine diplomats wearing business suits and sitting in conference rooms, these artists paint a drastically different picture.

I spread a message of connecting where there are no bridges - FTR, Beatmaker

They are DJs, emcees, singers, dancers and beat makers who believe that hip-hop can be a tool for international diplomacy. They are participants in the Next Level program, an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and UNC-Chapel Hill with a mission to use hip-hop music and dance to foster cross-cultural exchange. The six artists have been in North Carolina this week to discuss conflict resolution and jam with local artists, among other things.

Hip- hop is the next level to my music where I can take my issues to the world-Malabika Brahma, a singer from India

Host Frank Stasio is joined by three of them to discuss their work and perform live in studio: Malabika Brahma is a vocalist and composer from India; Toussa Senerap is an emcee from Senegal; and FTR is a beat maker from Zimbabwe. The director of the program, Mark Katz, also joins the conversation. The artists will be performing in an open jam session at The Strowdin Chapel Hill tonight from 8-10 p.m.

Listen to them freestyle liveon the show:

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.