Floodwall: Art Exhibition of Jana Napoli in Berlin

"Drawers Speak - New Orleans Five Years Later"

US Embassy Cultural Exchange Hip Hop Event

(Berlin, Monday, 13th of September 2010)

Hosted by:
Phillip D Murphy (US ambassador to Germany)

Event Report

Executive Summary

On Monday September 13th, the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy was privileged to co-host a Hip Hop event alongside the US Embassy in Germany. The evening took place on the ‘Kurier’ ship on the Spree River, was attended by over 130 young hip hop enthusiasts from Berlin and Brandenburg showcasing the talents of twenty young rappers from Berlin and New York who are participating in the exchange program "The Berlin Bronx Connection". The event was attended by His Excellency Mr Phillip D. Murphy, US Ambassador to Germany and ICD Founder & Director Mark Donfried.

Event Overview

Bronx Berlin Connection, a transatlantic Hip Hop Project, energized a young audience of 130 hip hop enthusiasts from Berlin and Brandenburg during a packed concert showcasing the talents of twenty young rappers from Berlin and New York. Ambassador Murphy, his wife and kids were greeted with a warm welcome as they arrived to attend the concert. Ambassador Murphy welcomed the gathering: “We know that Hip Hop is a culture, a message that represents the who, the what, and the why of today. It does more than entertain. It can educate. In our minds, there’s no debate about the fact that the hip hop voice is relevant and that there is a message if people have an open mind – and just listen and learn.”

The concert was took place within the Floodwall exhibition, a collection of 250 drawers recovered from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The event highlighted the cultural connections between these two cities and countries. The U.S. Embassy supported the visit of these young rappers from New York who are participating in the exchange program “The Berlin Bronx Connection”. The program engages youth from the Bronx and Berlin in a cultural exchange and uses hip hop to explore and express their experiences, the challenges they face, and the action necessary to bring change to their communities. One of the young guests commented: “Wow, they were thrilling to hear and watch. I especially liked that there songs were in English and in German and that they covered so many topics.” Another young guest pointed out that he liked that one of the rappers told them about their drug experiences and that he regretted what he did.

Urban experiences, city to city

From the setting of the Floodwall exhibition, to the cultural exchange of the Berlin Bronx Connection, this event allowed the youth of Berlin to engage and channel their energies through artistic expression and find the common language of music between cultures.

Further Information

For further details about the Floodwall program, including the exhibition, the youth outreach program, or the event series, please see the following link: www.floodwall-berlin.de