Outspoken is a feature documentary that highlights an explosion of rap ‘activists’ who step up to the mic to voice protest and demand change.

Outspoken carves out a place for club-land MCs in the great spoken art traditions of the world by journeying to the backyards, clubs and shantytowns of Africa, Asia and Polynesia to meet artists who use rap to celebrate, reinforce and ‘represent’, prod the ‘powers-that-be’ and protest.

We travel across continents interweaving the stories of activist rap artists; why they rap, how they reach their audience and what messages they transmit both locally and internationally. Darryl MacDaniels (Run DMC) remembers sound system culture arriving in New York during the 70's, during an era of repressive legislation and urban decay. Once rap messages were recorded on vinyl, the artform quickly bounced across the U.S.A and around the globe. In 1980's New Zealand, Te Kupu helmed a revival of Maori culture by producing rhymes in Te Reo Maori with UHP. In Burma, Zeyar Thaw, a nationally celebrated rapper with Generation Wave, is elected to Parliament after three years as a political prisoner for his hip hop inspired activism. South Sudan's Emmanuel Jal proves that the microphone is a far more powerful weapon than the gun in resolving conflict in a long running civil war. MC Xuman in Dakar uses rap to convey vital news to a youthful TV audience and Liberian radio MC's inform their audiences how to protect oneself from Ebola. Sister Fa steps on to the stage in West Africa to rap about female genital mutilation and women's rights.

In the wake of global instability and rapid change, the voice of the rap artist echoes environmental catastrophe, social and political rupture and police brutality. “Outspoken” reveals that rhyming is a living and transforming art form that originated with the griots, bards and storytellers of ancient times, yet this swirling global dialogue is the social commentary for our times, that helps us to understand world events that engulf us all.


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