Updated: Aug 14, 2021
The real Rio De Janeiro is not what you see on Copacabana beach or the Christ the Redeemer, it is in the Favela communities where the government presence is limited. We spent a few days in Rocinha, Brazil's largest favela and shared a few moments with a Hip Hop Project in a psychiatric hospital.
We had the opportunity to share with Luck (Founder of GBCR) who organises a weekly Hip Hop Jam in the psychiatric hospital in Rocinha.
Luck is an influential figure in the Hip Hop community here in Brazil. He started his Hip Hop journey in 1986 in Baixada and moved to Rocinha in 1993. He created the first breaking crew in Rio De Janeiro called GBCR and led the Hip Hop movement in Rocinha.
This project (which is one of many) just re-affirmed to me how beautiful the Hip Hop culture is with no borders and that all around the world, its saving lives and bringing people together.
Check out the video from the project here : - Hip Hop Jam | Rocinha (Video)
We were hosted in Rocinha by an amazing humble human being who goes by the name of Bboy Jordan. He helped us with a place to sleep for a few nights and showed us Rocinha, the real Rio De Janeiro where the government has no real presence.
He repeated despite the fact there is a high level of arms and drug trafficking going on that you are safer here in the favela than on the streets of Lapa (Central Rio). In the favela, you can leave your doors open and nobody will rob you because here there is strong level of respect for those who run the favela.
We shared many moments with Jordan and Luck's family who all had a heart of gold. Our most memorable was sitting on top Luck's house looking over Rocinha (as you can see it in the picture above) and talking about a whole range of different things from the power of Hip Hop culture, politics to even the history of Africa before the slave trade. Both Africa Bambaataa and Storm had also visited his house in Rocinha and many other stories were exchanged between us. We will never forget this day.
The experience was eye opening and was a clear example that perception is not always the reality. We are always quick to judge and place a stamp on something without actually experiencing it. The people here will welcome you with their arms open (as long as you have the right intentions) and we should not fear the favela. Instead, we should learn from their way of living.