American Institute of Indian Studies

AIIS Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Fund Innovative Hip Hop Jukeboxx Project in India

Chicago (September 27, 2016) The American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) is pleased to announce the launch of its first crowdsource funding campaign for an innovative performing arts project called The Jukeboxx Movement in India: From Surviving to Thriving. The campaign seeks to raise at least $25,000 to carry out the project in India, along with local collaborators.

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Jukeboxx project director Ansley Jones

The Jukeboxx Movement, led by project director Ansley Jones, is a hip hop feminist project to raise awareness of sexual assault while simultaneously empowering survivors of rape through hip hop culture. The campaign seeks to create and sustain safe spaces for survivors, in order to foster healthy self-expression and regain bodily autonomy through creative movement, while simultaneously fighting a culture that glorifies sexual violence.

The Jukeboxx project will first spend several weeks in in Kolkata, to work mainly with the Hip Hop community there, including the Big Bong Theory Forum, introducing the Survivors Keeper program. The project will collaborate with the hip hop community and NGOs affiliated with the program in workshops on street art activism. It will hold demonstrations throughout the city through street performance protest. Survivors affiliated with New Light, a Kolkata-based non-profit organization promoting gender equality, will participate in special workshops designed to enhance the healing process of victims of gender-based violence. These workshops will introduce new strategies and coping mechanisms for dealing with the psychological effects of gender-based violence, while simultaneously using hip hop as a platform of resistance.

The project will also work with the Jungle Music School, whose mission is to promote the education and well-being of disadvantaged rural and tribal children through the instruction and practice of Yoga and Baul Fusion Music in West Bengal.

The team of artists and activists, both U.S. and India-based, will then work in other cities across India to rally the global hip hop community to explore the creative and dynamic uses of hip hop culture to raise awareness about sexual assault and gender-based violence. The team will offer workshops and seminars throughout the tour on the following topics: workshops on beginners hip hop and Baul fusion music; organic beat-making workshops and technique classes; mini-academies for experienced hip hop artists; seminars on graffiti/visual art; hip hop feminism’s connection with Dalit feminisms; history of hip hop and hip hop dance; the martial art of Capoeira and Capoeira music; and incorporating these creative traditions with hip hop feminism and social protest and awareness movements.

The Jukeboxx project is an ongoing collaboration between US artists/activists and Indian artists, NGOs, activists and community members. The project melds art with social activism and raising awareness about a critical issue facing society.

Ansley Jones is a multidisciplinary artist, dance scholar, official U.S. Cultural Ambassador, hip hop feminist, and women’s rights activist. Jones traveled to India (May 2014) with the Next Level Exchange Program, an initiative of the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, to teach peace and conflict resolution through hip hop culture. Recently Jones was invited a second time to India as a U.S. cultural ambassador in residence with Cultural Vistas and the U.S. State Department.

Other U.S.-based collaborators include musician Neel Agrawal, interdisciplinary artist Fatimah White and ethnomusicologist and videographer Dr. Frank Gunderson.

AIIS, an American Overseas Research Center, is managed by a consortium of 86 universities and colleges whose mission is to further the knowledge of India in the United States by supporting American scholarship on India and to promote and advance mutual understanding between the citizens of the U. S. and of India.

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