(Written by Nehanda Abiodun)
GodMother Of Cuban Hip Hop.
Over the past 10 years, Nehanda has been active in the Cuban hip hop movement. Her capacity as a mentor for various rap groups in Havana has earned her the affectionate nickname “Godmother of Cuban hip hop.”
In the past, Nehanda has opened her house to host political education classes for Cuban youth, as well as other young people such as students studying in Havana. She was also instrumental in the formation of the Black August Benefit Concerts, “a celebration of Hip Hop and our Freedom Fighters…a project of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), which strives to support the global development of Hip Hop culture by facilitating exchanges between international communities where Hip Hop is a vital part of youth culture, and by promoting awareness about the social and political issues that affect these youth communities…[its goal] is to bring culture and politics together and to allow them to naturally evolve into a unique Hip Hop consciousness that informs our collective struggle for a more just, equitable and human world.”
According to Nehanda, “rap music is…the voice of protest…[with which] we can educate and organize around the world. It puts a whole different light on the word globalizatoin…Wherever you go…in the world, from New Zealand to Timbuktu, there are rappers. Wherever you go! And once you step out of the U.S., a large part of that global community of hip hoppers are progressive. Seriously, because most of it comes from the indigenous people of that particular place. “It speaks not only to the conditions here in Cuba, but around the world. It particularly speaks to the plight of African people. Yes, a lot of it talks about Cuba, in terms of black Cuba or Afro-Cuba, but you can take that same lyric and apply it to the U.S…It is critical thinking.
Not only do they do that, but they make political analysis on what’s going on around the world. For instance, right before Bush invaded Iraq, Anonimo Consejo came out with this rhyme “No More Hunger, No More War.” Who do we have in the U.S. that did that? And it’s also international in its make-up in that they do embrace other flavors of hip hop. It ain’t just about Cuban hip hop. They feel that they’re part of a bigger community…we are part of a global hip hop community.”