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Next Level Hip Hop Exchange Program Draws Over 300 Applicants in Zimbabwe

Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE), a gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.

Next Level Hip Hop Exchange Program Draws Over 300 Applicants in Zimbabwe

Harare, Zimbabwe — June 15, 2024 — The Next Level Hip Hop exchange program has announced an overwhelming response to its open call for participants, with more than 300 Zimbabwean Hip Hop dancers, MCs, beat-makers, and DJs applying for the upcoming Next Level Academy. This eagerly anticipated event will take place from July 8 to July 18, 2024, at the Zimbabwe College of Music, culminating in a grand concert on July 19 at the 7 Arts Theatre in Harare.

By Plot Mhako

The academy will offer 15 DJs, 20 beat-makers, 30 dancers, and 20 rappers from across Zimbabwe the chance to receive comprehensive instruction in their chosen artistic disciplines. The intensive 10-day workshops, led by American artist-educators, will focus on skill-building and entrepreneurship. Successful applicants will be notified on June 21, 2024.

Next Level, an initiative by the U.S. Department of State and Meridian International Center, uses the universal language of Hip Hop to promote cross-cultural creative exchange. By partnering with U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, Next Level conducts impactful two-week residencies that target underserved communities and youth, especially in regions with limited access to cultural and artistic resources.”

The program brings together teams of four American Hip Hop artist-educators who collaborate with local organizations and musicians to conduct workshops, lecture-demonstrations, and master classes. These activities are designed to foster mutual knowledge exchange, values, and respect between American artists and local communities. Each residency concludes with a public performance, and professional-grade musical equipment is donated to local partners to support ongoing learning and artistic growth.

A Legacy of Success

Since its inception in 2014, Next Level has facilitated exchange programs in over 50 countries across six continents, including U.S. residencies for international artists. The program made its debut in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 2015 and is set to return in 2024.

Images from NEXT LEVEL – ZIMBABWE 2015 (Credit Next Level Facebook)

Next Level Returns to Zimbabwe

In 2024, five distinguished Hip Hop artists will travel to Zimbabwe as part of the Next Level program. The team includes:

See Also

  • Lady Beast: A seasoned dancer integral to the Poppin’/battle dance scene for 16 years, who has performed alongside icons like Jay Z, Lil Wayne, and Ciara.
  • Dee-1: A New Orleans-born MC currently completing the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellowship at Harvard University, known for his impactful albums and policy-shaping efforts in Louisiana.
  • Nick Neutronz: An accomplished electronic musician, producer, DJ, and classically trained pianist with collaborations including Eminem and Lee “Scratch” Perry.
  • Krithi: A versatile producer and DJ blending sounds from the Indian Subcontinent with electronica, Hip Hop, and dance music, and a singer-songwriter focused on Jazz and Carnatic music.
  • Aysha Upchurch: The Dancing Diplomat, a dancer, and educator dedicated to youth advocacy, social justice, and transformative education, teaching at Harvard University.

The program will also feature a videographers workshop led by Saleem Reshamwala, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker known for his work on culture, ethnicity, and music. Saleem has created content for The New York Times, The Guardian, and TED’s “Far Flung,” and has filmed in over 50 countries.”

Next Level, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy of Zimbabwe, the United States Department of State, the Meridian International Center, and the implementing partner Jibilika Dance Trust, invites Zimbabwean artists to join this unique opportunity to connect and grow through Hip Hop culture.

Cover image – Juan G

For more details, visit Next Level /

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Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE)
A gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.
Truly, for the culture.

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