'Outspoken' is a feature documentary that highlights a cypher circle of rap ‘activists’ who
step up to the mic to voice protest and demand change around the world.

'Outspoken' carves out a place for club-land MCs in the great spoken art traditions of the world by journeying to backyards, clubs and shantytowns around the globe. 'Outspoken' interweaves the stories of activist rap artists who use rap to reinforce identity, represent the community, prod the ‘powers-that-be’ and protest. We explore why they rap, how they reach their audiences and what messages they transmit both locally and internationally. A selection of scenes follows below.

Darryl MacDaniels, from pioneering new school rap crew Run DMC, remembers when Caribbean sound system culture arrived in New York during the 1970s and toasting transformed to its contemporary form of rap MCing in an era of repressive legislation and urban decay. Once rap messages were recorded on vinyl the art form quickly bounced across the U.S.A and around the globe.

In 1980s New Zealand, Te Kupu helms a revival of Maori culture and language by producing rhymes in Te Reo Maori with his group Upper Hutt Posse. Te Kupu is a powerful voice in the global indigenous rights movement.

In Burma, Zeyar Thaw, a nationally celebrated rapper and founder of the activist group Generation Wave, serves three years as a political prisoner for hip-hop-inspired activism. South Sudanese rapper Emmanuel Jal campaigns with Amnesty International for Zeyar Thaw's freedom and soon after ZYT is elected to Burma's government.

Home in South Sudan, Emmanuel Jal shows that the microphone is a more powerful weapon than the gun in resolving conflict in a long-running civil war. DMC joins Jal for a peace concert during a hiatus from fighting after South Sudan becomes its own nation.

Across the continent in Dakar MC Xuman connects contemporary rap to the griots of old and describes how rap came to the Americas via the Middle Passage of the slave trade. Xuman films daily news broadcasts using rap verses to an online audience. Across town fellow Senegalese rapper Sister Fa uses rap to campaign against female genital mutilation and women's rights.

In the Americas, Jota Ramos uses his status as a rap artist to resist corporate bullying by a sugar cane company when they fence off his town's water supply. An attempted assassination leads to Jota living in exile in Madrid. Returning home in 2020, Jota leads rap workshops to empower young people to stand up for their rights. Jota rolls out an ambitious bridge-building project that brings South African exchange students to Colombia for music, political and cultural training.

We return to Myanmar where Zeya Thaw has left politics to return to music. As another coup rocks the nation Zeya Thaw joins the resistance movement. He is arrested and detained in Insein Prison. In May 2022, the regime illegally condemns Zeya Thaw to death in a sham trial without representation. In July 2022, Zeya Thaw is brutally executed with 3 other inmates.

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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MINDCRAFT is an app containing a palette of digital tools drawn from music and rhyme art to introduce mindfulness to young adults .

Inspired by 'Outspoken', MINDCRAFT allows users to assess their mood before drawing from four digital assemblages of mindfulness sessions, personal stories, lo-fi beats, and soundscapes.  MINDCRAFT's design draws from a blend of mindfulness-based symbolism blended with a graphic novel and graffiti aesthetic.

MINDCRAFT encourages engaged mindfulness in the real world.


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