Nearly one year to the day after raising awareness about Hip Hop collective and Guinea-Bissau natives Baloberos by performing their song “Seven Minutes Of Truth” stateside, Hasan Salaam and FLOW became the first artists to ever perform in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau. The performance capped off a trek through Dakar, Senegal and Bissau that also included lessons on creative writing for young people of Guinea-Bissau.
“Ultimately, we’re here for a great reason…to work with the babies,” Salaam said. “I don’t think a lot of people would’ve come over here to do what we’ve done. It’s not like we just came over here to rap. We came over here to work with the youth, other artists and build with people.”
Music activist Austin Dacey introduced Salaam to members of Baloberos in 2010, after hearing about how members of the group were beaten and detained due to the dissenting lyrical content of the original version of “Seven Minutes Of Truth.” When Salaam performed his spin on the song in Brooklyn last year, members of Baloberos were able to join in via Skype. Both the Wall Street Journal and NPR covered the event.
During his most recent visit to Guinea-Bissau with FLOW, Salaam and Baloberos came together and participated in the national Big Up GB Hip Hop Festival to promote freedom of speech. Salaam also conducted workshops with the youth at the SOS children’s village and the young Hip Hop artists of Bissau, covering topics such as: the history of Hip Hop music, the implications of the “N” word, creative writing, and performing. For more information on the Big Up GB Hip Hop Festival, visit HasanSalaamMusic.com or SimplyFLOW.com.