Rhythms of Resistance: Speaking Noise to Power

Rockn City

Breakdancing for social change

In the city of Sanaa, young people are break-dancing to sounds being spun on turntables and DJ mixers, rhyming in sync with the tunes and finishing graffiti fills created on stencils.

Using dance and music to express deeply buried feelings, sharing promising practices, building and celebrating together.

Ryan Sanabani, a young yemeni with Blast Boyz which now turned into Rock’n’City tells how it all began, largely through the efforts of AJ, a charismatic rapper and a celebrity in Sana’a. who wanted to bring Hip Hop to Yemen and create a better life for the youth.using hip-hop with a focus on Rap, ‘b-boy culture’ and breakdance.

“I think the idea of (we are Yemenis and we do hip hop) was exciting, we were doing something completely new and different, having the ability to express our culture through hip hop provided unlimited possibilities, the process and results of what we created was extremely fun.

This interest also deferred our attention from negative influences like Qat.

As everyone improved we began crafting our creations for entertainment and to the surprise of many of us people loved it! That only fueled the booming hip hop scene.” he said.

“I think people my age wanted an alternative. Music and dance gave us an outlet to do something and a space to self-express”  added another youth member of Rock’N’ City, Ali.

AJ dedicates his time to supporting and publicizing Yemen’s young music scene.  For these youth, making music is their passion, and also a tool to communicate the reality of life in Yemen.  Through music and dance, they break media silence.

“Most of the world believes we are the terrorists. But we are here, well and alive too. So this is how we will get our message accross” stressed a Rock’n’City member. “Why do they want to erase our existence? the media is closed to us, so we have to get our message out through Hip-Hop.” he adds. 

Breakdance has attracted people from every walk of life and acts as a catalyst for building mutually beneficial relationships between people of different social status across Yemen.

 “Breakdance and hip hop are the weapons that youth want to use to tell people what is deep in their feelings.” Haitham, 12

We are beginning to see various forms of art – from street theatre and music to street art and dance – being used to raise awareness, restore hope and empower. In fact, almost everywhere in Sanaa today, creative responses to Yemen’s future go on in many forms.

stay tuned for more.

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