"My name is Gwendolene Mugodi and I am a writer and the founder of Paivapo Storytellers, a movement that aims to provide better access to local, good quality literature to the children in Zimbabwe--and eventually beyond. Our work would not be complete without the help of local artists like Abel Zvorufura who I met through the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. As two different artists we spent about a month and a half going back and forth on this book until we got to a place we were both happy with. I look forward to sharing that full book in a few months, but for now here's a little bit about Abel and why he does what he does."
The Voice of Hip-Hop
It’s Friday and Ava is ready for a night out. So of course, she heads to The Uprising’s Summer Festival.
When she walks through the gates she immediately recognizes members of her community. She hears the voice of her bus driver, who is also an amazing rapper, performing a song about female empowerment. To her left, she sees her grocer, who is also a talented painter. He has created vibrant and realistic images of people of color. To her right, Ava sees her teacher leading a workshop about LGBTQ people in business. Suddenly she gets a waft of something she’s never smelled before, but immediately knows will be delicious. Food trucks are lined around her featuring buzzwords like sustainable, local, and fresh.
All the members of Ava's community are engaged in celebrating the talent and passion they have to offer. She leaves the festival feeling good about herself and her culture, something she has never experienced at another event.
You would think that in Providence, the Creative Capital, a space that celebrates diverse communities and positive role models in the media would be common, but unfortunately it’s extremely rare, not only here but across the country.
This is the problem The Uprising is going to solve. We, The Uprising, are a revolutionary arts platform. We design interactive spaces, including galleries and festivals, which promote artists and businesses committed to social justice. Ava’s story is just a glimpse into what The Uprising can do.
I personally got into this business because I was sick of how women, people of color and LGBTQ+ people were being shown in commercial hip-hop and in the media. If you ask most people what hip-hop represents they’re going to think 1. Black and Latino culture, but then 2. Violence, homophobia, and sexism. This combination has created a major problem in how people of color are stereotyped. This is not just a random string of meaningless words layered over a beat. Commercial hip-hop actually has an effect on how people live their lives and are perceived. It leads to rape culture, men of color being seen as “thugs” and womanizers, and women of color being hypersexualized and objectified.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Commercial hip-hop does not represent hip-hop as a whole. Hip-hop originated as a political and cultural tool, the voice of voiceless minorities. The fact that the genre is now massively popular does not deplete its power to create positive social change.
We are in the early stages of planning our second event, a festival taking place this July. We look forward to including a wide array of array of local artists and business. Everyone associated with The Uprising will be known for empowering and uplifting their community. Ultimately, The Uprising seeks to change how people of color are perceived by changing how they are depicted in the media.
We would love for you to participate. Please let us know if you’re interested! Everyone is welcome, though we are especially seeking sponsors and artists (musical, visual, dancers, spoken word, etc.) to exhibit their talent.
August 11, 2016
June 13, 2016
Lauren Maunus '19 is starting a bold new venture.
Its goal: To help eliminate food waste and bring healthy, affordable food to "food swamps" in Rhode Island and beyond.
March 15, 2016"If little girls like me were saying Barbie is the pretty one and the brown one is the ugly one, that's a problem."
Yelitsa Jean-Charles studies Illustration at RISD with a a concentration in Gender, Race & Sexuality. She identifies as a visual activist, and believes that artists have a responsibility as society’s image-makers. Her doll company and book series, Healthy Roots, combats internalized racism and colorism by getting to the root of the problem: altering beauty standards and cultviating self-love for young girls through education, diversity, and positive representation.
March 12, 2016An Excerpt
Mina is a Brown-RISD Social Innovation Fellow. She traveled to her home in Iran last summer and brought back a cultural souvenir: the book she wrote, Taste of Culture. She explores Iranian families, streets, stores and the stories and spirit embedded in the recipes of Iranian food. She hopes to start a conversation about the benefit of knowing cuisines of different cultures to connect societies.
This year's class of Brown-RISD Social Innovation Fellows have just begun their yearlong foray into the world of social entrepenuership. Check out their projects here.
December 16, 2015
Ria is a 2015 Social Innovation Fellow and co-founder of No Country for Women (NCFW), an internationally-recognized gender education initiative that aims to combat systemic gender-based discrimination in India. Ria and her co-founder, Shreena Thakore ’16, who grew up in India, were awarded the Projects for Peace fellowship and used this grant to launch the project in May of 2014. NCFW was set up to educate the people in India on gender, rape culture, and misogyny through a series of workshops and initiate informed discussions about social change.
I was inspired by Ria’s story because she was determined to start a conversation about an issue in a country that fights hard to keep such issues silent and hidden. We reflected on Ria’s experiences, her interactions with young people, most of whom had never thought about this obvious form of discrimination before, and her moments of self-doubt and extreme conviction.
October 2, 2015