Hip-Hop Culture in Castro’s Cuba

Social and political oppression have led many Cubans to see the emotional release offered by hip-hop. The subversive nature and anti-establishment roots of hip-hop culture make it an ideal expression of the frustration felt by many of those trapped under Fidel Castro’s rule. Now that the communist dictator has stepped down after nearly 50 years, we have Guerilla Radio: The Hip-Hop Struggle Under Castro, a documentary by Thomas Nybo, a war correspondent, and Simon Umlauf, an entertainment reporter for CNN.

Guerilla Radio combines Nybo’s experience telling the powerful stories of the powerless with Umlauf’s knowledge of hip-hop and the entertainment industry. It follows the lives of three desperately poor Cuban artists and one Cuban-American rapper as they pursue their muse for the love of music. Unlike America, in Cuba there is no potential of recording contracts for the few who gain recognition. Their only reward is possible jail time if the government feels they have been too critical of Castro.

According to the film’s website, “Bueno Vista Social Club [the CD] was the music of Cuba’s past; Guerilla Radio is the music of Cuba’s future.” The free screening of Guerilla Radio is Fri. March 7 at 8 p.m. in Room 309 at the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 St. Philip St., College of Charleston. —Josh Eboch

MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 in Charleston

The Francis Marion Hotel was the spot for MTV’s addled adolescent soirée. For such an over the top fiesta, the cable network that formerly played music videos called Production Design Associates, which jumped at the chance to flourish in the creative setting of the My Super Sweet 16 parties. This drama-filled, carnival-themed production took eight months of planning, brainstorming, and detailing. It’s comforting to know that yet another 16 year old understands that spending all her parents’ money on creating the most extravagant party is more important than funding anything else in the world. Like Darfur. Check out the show in April. Calendar Girl Erica Jackson described the taping at Francis Marion as “a mob of teens outfitted in slutty prom-y dresses and braces.” —Melissa Xenakis

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