June 20, 2010

AGYA to Co-Sponsor "Ukoo Flani: Pioneers of Kaya Hip Hop" Event & Concert in Los Angeles

Save The Date: January 20, 2011

On January 20, 2011, at the University of Southern California's Bovard Auditorium, AGYA will co-sponsor an event featuring a performance by Kenyan rap group Ukoo Flani, pioneers of kaya hip-hop. The performance will be followed by a discussion about the role of African youth in the development of hip hop as a global art form and the issues facing urban youth in Africa.

The event is a by-product of AGYA Executive Director, Divinity Matovu's 2007 Senior Thesis which focused on the role of hip-hop and rap music in the youth culture in Kenya’s largest coastal city, Mombasa. Divinity's Thesis Project was published by the School for International Training and took top honors in USC's 10th annual Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work. To learn more about Divinity's award-winning thesis, visit: http://digitalcollections.sit.edu/isp_collection/125/

Divinity is very excited about this event which brings together her love for hip-hop culture and rap music, youth empowerment, and her alma mater, the University of Southern California.

"During my first trip to Africa (Kenya), the Ukoo Flani guys were the first group of youth from the slums who embraced me, and helped me understand the complexities of life for ghetto youth in East Africa. If it wasn't for my bond with the Ukoo Flani, it is likely that I would not have been so inspired to connect with youth and focus on the arts. Ukoo Flani's music is inspiring, raw, insightful, and sometimes rebellious. Ukoo Flani will be able to speak to the heart of important issues facing urban youth in Africa at the Visions and Voices Event, and I am so glad that I've been able to be a part of this!"

Prior to the January 2011 event in California, members of Ukoo Flani will travel to Kampala, Uganda to facilitate music workshops at the AGYA Community Center. Members of Ukoo Flani have expressed their joy about the opportunity to travel to California and share their ideas, music, philosophy, and opinions on a platform as prestigious as USC.

Ukoo Flani is an acronym for Upendo Kwote Olewenu Ombeni Funzo La Aliyetuumba Njia Iwepo, which means “love everywhere all who seek teachings of the Creator; there is a way.” The group is composed of thirteen men from Mombasa slum neighborhoods in Kenya who have transcended religious and tribal differences to make groundbreaking music.

Video: Hip-Hop Halisi* by Ukoo Flani
*translation: Real Hip-Hop

Among the Mijikenda people of Kenya’s coastal province, “kaya” means homestead or temple. The young rappers have embraced the historic term to form a style of hip hop that is positive, innovative, peaceful and socially conscious. As pioneers of this style, Ukoo Flani rap about the realities they see in their respective neighborhoods.

This event, which is presented by Visions and Voices: The USC Arts and Humanities Initiative, is organized by Francille Rusan Wilson (USC Department of American Studies and Ethnicity), Joanna Demers (the USC Thornton School of Music), Patrick James (USC International Relations Department, USC Center for International Studies), and co-sponsored by the USC Office of the Vice Provost for Globalization and Amagezi Gemaanyi Youth Association (AGYA).

For further information on this event, e-mail: visionsandvoices@usc.edu and visit: