Over the past four centuries, the Afro-Brazilian community has been waging war on poverty, racism and oppression in Brazil. This will be highlighted in the upcoming seventh annual HOPE benefit concert on April 13 in the College Nine Quad, which will discuss youth empowerment and the Afro-Brazilian arts movement as well.
This year, all proceeds of the festival are going to Rhythmic Uprising, a project that uses Afro-Brazilian art and traditions to improve the quality of life for children living in Bahia, Brazil. According to its website, the team “spent four years producing a documentary feature that tells the world the inspiring tale of how a powerful grassroots Afro-Brazilian arts movement is overcoming social and economic depression.”
Sarah Shokair, a fourth-year and student planner for HOPE, said the event has had benefit concerts and teach-ins in the past focusing on issues such as violence against women, youth violence and global hunger.
“It was started in College Nine by students who wanted to have a communitywide event that would be a fun event but would also raise awareness about a particular social justice issue, like an issue that’s on a global scale,” Shokair said.
The event will include a drum circle, dance lessons, tabling from Rhythmic Movement, and a Capoeira demonstration — a Brazilian art form that incorporates dance, music and martial arts.
“It’s going to be a lot more interactive than in the past — especially with the drum circle and the dance lessons,” Shokair said, “I think it’s because of the style of the event and because the event is about allowing people to engage in activism through the art. It’s really involved and really interactive.”
Local Santa Cruz band SambaDá will also be performing during the event. The band, which performs a combination of Afro, Samba, funk and dance music, has individual singers but also performs collectively at events.
Angeline Vu, second-year and student planner for HOPE, said the event will be a positive outlet for students who want to have a connection with music.
“It’s a good way to get students interested about a different area they’re not really familiar with,” she said, “It’s a cool way to tie in the local SambaDá having an international and global perspective presented as well and we’re trying to make it a campus-wide event.”
Students who attend the festival are also encouraged to watch Rhythmic Uprising’s new documentary to understand what the event is supporting and celebrating. A film screening and discussion with the filmmakers will happen on April 11.
“The point [of the film] is to show there is music as an alternative to other activities,” Vu said, “There is youth empowerment for people who have Afro-Brazilian tradition and pride and they want to elevate the quality of life for children in that area.”
Margaux Schindler, second-year and planner for HOPE, said one reason they chose the eponymous name of the festival is because it encourages people to participate in activism.
“We really like the idea of being able to support a group most of the campus doesn’t really know about,” she said. “It’s really working on the things we like to focus on which is youth empowerment, being able to use nonviolent communication for better purposes and improving the lives of other people.”
The seventh annual HOPE benefit concert is on April 13 from 3–6 p.m. in the College Nine Quad. The film screening and discussion with the filmmakers of Rhythmic Uprising is set for April 11 at 7 p.m. in the Namaste Lounge.