Home » Artwork critiques, Dance and Theatre, Issue 014 Nov '11, Music

Where’s the real voice of Ugandan hip-hop?

Posted by start 1 November 2011 45 Comments

When I first saw B.B. Muwanvuwanvu on stage at the World Music Day at Alliance Francaise this year, I was enthralled. Nothing stole my heart that evening like his performance. The performing group’s fluid breakdancing skills, punctuated with b-boy dance strokes, got me on my toes. I had never seen anybody do what they were doing. Their breakdance movements were creative, original and precise.

By Dominic Muwanguzi

This was more than breakdancing. The youth was communicating a message of positive social change through their b-boy dance strokes. And later, when the emcee picked the microphone and rapped about the social status quo, all of us in the crowd melted into a din of applause.

B-boy .. and B-boy Abdul at the Raw Expression-event at Open House, September 30th 2011.

Introducing B.P.U.

Muwanvuwanvu is a product of Breakdance Project Uganda. It uses breakdancing to cause positive social change among the youth in the country. The project has many dance crews which subscribe to its membership. Members are mostly youth between 12 and 22 years old.

(Editor remarks: The above paragraph as been slightly edited after initial publishing. Startjournal.org apologizes for the misrepresentation.)

“The Breakdance project is advocating for the use of talent to change society positively. We do not want the youth to waste away their talent,” says Candy Christian of Love good Crew and also the manager of B.B Muwanvuwanvu.

Aside from creating a positive social change through dance, the umbrella body finds its other strength in giving young artistes exposure and an opportunity to excel at what they know best.

“The project is raw. It is interested in young talent and not the already big artistes,” says Abdul Kinyanya aka B.Boy Abdul of Tabu Flo dance crew.

B-boy Abdul at Raw Expression 2011.

The “Raw Expression Party” at Open House

Hooded teenagers in trainer sneakers stormed the “Raw Expression Party” organised by the Breakdance Project Uganda, at the Open House along Buganda Road on September 30th 2011. The dance contest party was rolling by 8 pm with Old Skool groovy rhythmic rap vibes from the deejay’s box.

A couple of teenagers – who formed the opening act of the event – took turns to breakdance on the mahogany dance floor in the foreground of the expanse hall, as cameras from the guests and excited promoters clicked to catch their signature b-boy dance strokes.

In the background, there was live graffiti painting by artist Donald Wasswa. The light and dark shades on canvas fused with colorful animations, resonated with the tempo of the evening.

The small crowd of guests which constituted white expatriates and some Ugandans was on the sidelines; nodding and humming to the music and dance with glee.

One of the major highlights of that opening act was a rather 12 year old boy who thrilled the crowd with his bold b-boy dance strokes. He danced with such a passion and flair that almost shamed his contemporaries.

B-boy in action, Raw Expression 2011.

Which Raw Expression?

The exceptional talent exhibited by this youth could have been the only celebrated performance this evening as several other participants’ performances seemed to be less entertaining. They were incidentally highly duplicated and you would not expect any surprises.

More so, the “acclaimed” b-boy dancers did not make an effort to root their performance in local culture, something that would have given their respective performances a plus from the crowd.

The most evident element at the party was the “celebrification” of hip hop that has increasingly become a characteristic of Ugandan hip-hop artistes over the years.

B-boy in action, Raw Expression 2011.

Superficial lifestyle

The hooded jackets, caps, old skool trainer sneakers, baggy jeans and T-shirts exemplified the superficial lifestyle these youth are trapped in. It was as if they had been transported from a hip-hop music video of Jay-Z or Black Eyed Peas to this venue.

The music played was typically western with a few compositions in the local language like Nakazaana by Philly Lutaaya (R.I.P).

Most of the b-boy acts by the breakdancers – which seemed to dominate all the performances of the participating crews – where nothing like original. They were instead direct imitation of what these youngsters had watched on television back home.

At the height of it all, the event lacked the ‘Raw Expression’ it was championing; save for the absence of big names in the Ugandan Hip hop industry like GNL Zamba, Navio etc.

B-boy in action, Raw Expression 2011.

Why the direct imitation?

Hip-hop culture, like any form of culture can enrich itself by creating a fusion between any local culture. This adds to its originality and uniqueness, hence creating an extended demand for it internationally. Unfortunately, this characteristic is clearly being neglected by the Breakdance Project Uganda.

If the public message is – among other things – that they are promoting a local brand of hip-hop, the project will have a lot of convincing to do, simply because their performances hardly are rooted in local culture.

DJ Ivo at Raw Expression 2011.

Media nurturing celebrity artists

One of the reasons for this dysfunctional trend is the fact that the bulk of artistes in this artistic forum have been nurtured by the local media industry. Media transmits a superficial image of hip-hop with blinged up artistes and their raunchy lifestyle.

Because of this indoctrination the youngsters find it justifiable to dress and pose the way those celebrity artistes do.

Local culture not good enough

Another notable reason is perhaps the stereotype that anything local is not good enough. By joining the breakdance project, the youngsters are like saying “it’s cool to be like 50 Cent, and it sucks to be local.”

To make sense of this statement, it was evident that many teenagers at the event wanted to impress with a phony American accent.

No worries about the mould of unreality

But according to Abdul Kinyanya aka B. Boy Abdul there is no fault in these boys acting like those hip-hop celebrities in the United States of America:

“It is my belief that we are driven by the same intentions as hip-hop artistes in the U.S,” he said.

The Live Graffiti Painting

Another component of hip-hop culture, graffiti, was also featured in the event. The live painting session was meant to fuse these two components of hip-hop culture into one space.

Donald Wasswa on nearly blank canvas.

Because of the immerse creativity and energy graffiti has, it was also featured to inject energy into the show.

Though the graffiti was well executed by artist Donald Wasswa of Artpunch Studios in Kasanga – with contributions from graphic designer Lawrence Musoke and graffiti artist Oscar – it was devoid of his signature style of sprinkling paint on canvas before working on it.

(Editor remarks: The above paragraph as been slightly edited after initial publishing. Startjournal.org apologizes for the misrepresentation.)

Not enough attention for graffiti

Also, there was a glaring gap between the live painting on the podium and the break dancing which was taking place in the middle of the hall. Many of the guests’ attention was pinned on the dancers; save for some guests – particularly muzungus – who took off sometime to appreciate the live graffiti painting.

Donald Wasswa painting graffiti.

Wasswa himself enjoyed the moment, because it gave him the opportunity to experiment with new art forms:

“Break dance is part of urban culture. I am very interested in it because it enables me not to limit myself with my painting. Interestingly, not many people knew that I could do this,” said Donald Wasswa.

The artist in his opinion, nevertheless, blamed the competition between the two art forms to the poor organization by the event organizers.

“The set up was not right. The organizers would have had different intervals between the two art forms such that they are not performed at the same time,” he said.

He also suggested that in future, the live painting show becomes a group activity such that it does not appear like it is a one man’s show.

“I would advise that more artists are invited to the event so that it does not appear like a one man’s show and also perhaps to create more excitement. When you have several people doing something, it attracts attentions from the crowd,” Donald said.

Less commercialization than expected

However, according to Thomas from Germany, having the live painting and breakdancing in one space made the event unique and entertaining:

“In Germany, something like this rarely happens. It is either breakdancing or graffiti, never the two in one space and at the same time,” he said.

Thomas’ other observation was that the show was less commercialized compared to similar shows in Germany, where sometimes sponsors in form of corporate companies compromise on the art with their overt advertising schemes.

Time to be real

Despite the success of the Raw Experience Party, the Breakdance Project still has to localize its content. The teenagers do not necessarily have to dress hip, talk slang and rhyme like the hip-hop celebrities in the U.S to garner attention and respect from other youth.

Instead, they need to find a local identity of their artistry. By doing so, the message of social change they are delivering is satisfactorily welcomed by their audience in all regions of the country.

Two performers at the Raw Expression-event September 2011.

Dominic Muwanguzi is a freelance art Journalist with a strong dedication to uplifting the visual arts in Uganda.

All photos taken/directed by Donald Wasswa.

Editor remarks: After initial publishing Startjournal.org was made aware of the fact that BB Muwanvuwanvu – as mentioned in the opening paragraph – is a rapper/emcee and not a breakdance artist – as he was initially described as. Comments below will show that this was edited quite soon after publishing the article. We are sorry for the misrepresentation.

45 Comments »

  • WASWAD said:

    Great article up there MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!!!!!

  • Martin Kharumwa said:

    I was at this event and disagree with this article.
    I think Uganda suffers from an identity crisis of sorts, none of the kids you talk about have been inducted to raised in the dance culture you want them to identify with.
    Adopting and learning traditional dance is a lot harder to do/find, than the free lessons at Nsambya center.
    We learned it in the high end high schools as part of drama classes.
    So you would rather they KEEP IT REAL KEEP IT AFRICAN how?

    But that also goes the same for our fashion sense and music taste, why aren’t we like say the Nigerian Culture that wear nigerian in the urban cities, eats Nigerian, and watch only Nigerian.
    We should all be Bukkedde watchers to keeps it true Ugandan!

    I think the disconnect here is with people who believe “africa’s” identity and culture is static.
    There is so much about the article that is inaccurate especially with regards to the sources of inspiration these kids reference.

    I agree there is a place for fusion, B-Boy Abdul is part of the TabuFlow crew that created & performed “Abasezi” (Night Dancers) at the National theater that attempted to fuse and african story and dance, to hiphop.

    And about the accents, I’m one of the people that make fun of attempts at american accents.
    But I also get away with what is considered tweeking/Localizing my british accent when speaking to certain people here, and its considered, quaint, comic and acceptable.. its “dumbing it down” because i have enough control of our “national Language” to decide when i want to pronounce things wrong, or use bad grammar.

    Some people do make attempts to adapt, its sometimes aspirational, and sometimes a much bigger problem… which i think is more a comment on where Uganda’s identity and the generation that it influences.

  • Faisal Kiwewa said:

    Well… first of all thank you Dominic, I like your taste for create arts and I think your writing is a true representation of what you saw and what you know about the trend of hip hop and Breakdance in Uganda … we all have a bit of its history, how it began and where it is going.

    I salute the Break dance team, they have done a great job in give hope to so many youth, more especially in the north, the east and some parts of the west have started to follow.

    We have to agree that nothing in Uganda can be done in this error at its perfection, but everyone with an initiative tries and I personally appreciate those that stand up for a cause and stick to it to bring about change … have an impact within their communities hence the country at large.

    I was at the event, not so much involved in the programming though but enjoyed every second of my time I spent there … the issues raised by Dominic and later responded to by Martin for me are very crucial as we struggle to realize most of the time as practitioners and managers of the arts, many times fail to define our responsibilities and roles in communities that we operate/serve.

    The Breakdance Project team in my opinion has (as I said before) done a great job but with one big challenge of attaching the cause to the right audience … (as Dominic said localizing the content, I would say “audience”). Many youth have a chance to express themselves (more especially in Kampala) but most of the time to not a clear or to use the word “right” audience. And when the question arises to whom are they trying to sell their talents to? Or whom are they trying to market themselves to? Or to whom are they interested in getting support from? For me those would be some of the questions I would like the BPU team to engage with …

    Many times we see foreigners in the audiences and wonder whether they are the target audience or they are the only ones interested in this kid of art form … and supporting the youngsters. Anyway … I would like also to talk about the language and cultural of expression of the youngsters.

    It is evident that our generation is trying to do something about appreciation of our own past and try to have an identified future … its not easy, but we are all trying as the youth of today … the visual artists, the musicians, the film makers and the break dancers, all working hard to create a Ugandan creative identity or “brand” if I may say … but the question may be how united are they in finding or identifying this Identity “brand” … who is working with who to create this brand … I think we need help here!

    The fusion of traditional and western culture (as it is now with the hip hop and visual arts – graffiti) has always been part of Ugandan arts … the problem is that those who engage in such fusions may not have been interested in being popular but they have been part of our communities … Daudi Karungi worked on an album with Kawesa and it was successful, there are more examples of great minds of our generation like Xenson with his Muwe Blow hit … a true fusion of music and graffiti art. I think we just need more creative initiatives of such kind and platforms to show case them.

    There is also a big problem with language and vocabulary … it has been a challenge for us as well this year when we embarked on the wagon to educate youngsters across the country the 5 elements of hip hop … we realized they do not appreciate their local languages and we had a discussion about it … but after two weeks, they were all rapping in their own languages and passed on strong messages. The best practice here was engaging with the youth in a discussion about why they “hated” their local languages … and they had little explanation.

    However, I would also like to suggest that such events would be more relevant if they are taken to the people … not waiting for people to come to them. As we work toward changing societies and having an impact on what we are doing, we have to be realistic to whom our audience should be … find them and infor-tain them 🙂

  • Sylvester kabombo said:

    Thanks for the article although they are some issues that i dont agree with you…….but that will be in the second msg. What do you mean by saying that the event lacked the raw expression??? May be you didnt understand their meaning of the word “Raw Expression”.
    You talked of the hiphop big names that were not at da event, are they the only ones that can make up a successful event in uganda? the industry has to grow……

    secondly B.B. Muwanvuwanvu is not a breakdancer and has never been in that practice. He is a rapper. You have mistaken him with Abdul Kinyenya a.k.a. B-Boy Abdul. I wish you could change that, for people not to get a wrong information.

    More comments coming soon.

  • Martin Kharumwa said:

    Almost every professional painter/artist in this city relies heavily on foreign collectors, curators, and funds to survive. Including the big wigs that run this publication.

    So lets talk about who supports and funds ugandan art culture. Because it certainly isn’t Ugandans, and one could argue a lot of the painters in this country practically gave up on developing past what sells in this market. Abstract colorama.

    So maybe if we let the “native” market dictate what trends should and shouldn’t be adopted funded, or consider entertaining… what would cut it as Keeping it Real, Raw African…..Uganda?

    If we are artists… our stories and journey are what make it unique and give it an identity … make it “african”!? The identity and value of our work, our expression and culture is tied into our personal testimonies.

  • abdul muyingo kinyenya aka bboy abdul said:

    peace. this article is such an example of the arts journalists and writers in the country. which is a pity.

    NO 1
    If you need attention by writing about breakdance project Uganda (BPU), and Raw Expression as a critic you need to first get your self informed as a journalist. http://bpuevents.org/. or use Google

    Some corrections.
    -BB muwanvuwanvu is not a break dancer he is an MC so I don’t know were you saw him breakdancing as you say shamefully you start your article with such incorrect information.

    -The project does not only have eight crews its an umbrella for most break dancers in the country as they get free dance skills and inspirations from each other it has over 1000 members around the country and not restricted to any age though it mostly works with children and youths.

    – the project works with all kinds of artists especially people who want to share there skills with others
    who don’t have the money to pay In order to acquire the skills including leadership skills, entrepreneurship, music production, dancing, singing, photography/video skills among others.
    – So your also welcome to the organization since we believe that learning never ends.

    NO 2
    If you think creating illusions is going make you stand out NO it hasn’t and we know that your not different from most of the Ugandan arts journalists who write articles that are all over the place. Except for a few if not one.

    Well I might not be a good writer but I will use my common sense (knowledge) which for your information is an element of the hip hop culture that you seem not to understand as there is many of you in this situation.

    See the biggest problem in the Ugandan arts industry today is people like you and by you I mean the media. You are the perfect misrepresentation of the arts if your writing for money chasing companies you will have their attention but if your writing for respect and creditability you need to EARN that.

    TIME TO BE REAL
    If you look at the picture that you used last, the dancers were holding spears and shields with African skin paints which you didn’t mention at all and to you that is being like the US hip hopers then I guess its time for you to BE REAL .

    Martin mentioned the myth of night dancers performance (ABASEZZI) by tabu flo dance crew and if you watched it then we would have a start for a mature conversation.
    just for your information the guardian quoted.

    “Ugandan group Tabu Flo’s Myth of the Night Dancers was most interesting for its seamless blend of hip-hop with African dance” http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2011/may/02/breakin-convention-review

    HOW LOCAL CAN HIP HOP BE IN UGANDA??
    I think the bigger issue is how local can a Ugandan be?
    Then it goes back to dress code, language, music and art among other things that represent a culture

    take a walk through the Kampala streets am sure the only women you will see in bitengi (African prints) will be Senegalese or Nigerian business women and Congolese men. Most Ugandans will be dressed in jeans and for the women you know how they dress.

    For my brothers like the karamajongs who have maintained there original cultures (traditional wear) including their facial accessories the best we can do is lough at them and call them backward.” is this being local”

    And I just wished the shirt you were putting on that day was made out of backcloth.

    As for music if you think KIDANDALI (Ugandan pop music) is local
    then think again or listen to its inspirations regeatone, ragga and you will know how commercialized our music is .

    what happened to the real Ugandan music with real traditional instruments likes of Samite, philly bongole Lutaya (RIP), among others.

    So for music we rather use a few Ugandan classics, African drumming and selected western real funk, breakbeats, old school music that we are able to break on than comprehending only what is apparent or obvious .

    SAME INTENTIONS AS THE US HIP HOPERS.

    When you decide to quote me as a journalists understand the whole conversation.

    If we talk about hip hop in America first of all I hope we are not talking about what you see on MTV.

    because that’s not the hip hop am talking about am sorry.
    thats all media hip hop just like were the local media is heading as regards the future of Ugandan hiphop.

    when I talk about hip hop in the US be aware that am talking about PEACE , LOVE, UNITAY and HAVING FUN.as the biggest drive behind the culture.

    Realize that am talking about Africa bambata, cool d j her and the Zulu nation among others who forefront the culture .

    The same ‘’Intentions’’ is using our dance skills, arts skills raping skills to educate and express our selves and the local communities at large, to tackle social /economic issues that are affecting us especially as the next generation.

    And this is not far from what happened in newyork during the early seventies when black people, latinos were using hip hop as a tool to fight against racism amongst other social and economic issues that were affecting them. hip hop was their VOICE.

    Hip hop being a global culture has its basic foundations and don’t expect them to be throw away
    because in the first place it’s the only neutral, widely spoken language amongst the youth especially in the urban cities.
    and if we are pioneering having one uganda not separated by economic,religions,tribal ( am so and so’s son from the west) or mulangila from buganda issues. we are with it.

    As for youth in urban cities, hiphop culture being a strong magnet that attracts them we are still ready to use it and since the beauty of it is that it integrates our traditional cultures .
    we shall expose our local cultures this way ie using rap (in our local languages)to educate masses among other elements.

  • hakim said:

    i appreciate the fact the the writer of this article took his time to sit down and write about the event,BUT before writing he should have sought more info or even consultation,not writing just basing on his personal or individual thoughts.

    it is not the fast time some thing of this sort is happening,this goes to all writers and journalists who write articles and journals based on individual thoughts just may be for their best satisfaction or what i dont know.

    to cut the long story short,the gentle man that wrote all that he wrote should change and do it differently next time,i will not mention what he mased up or where exactly,but those that know the truth saw it,so its better next time to consult,seek more info about an issue,before publishing an article about it in order to create more sense out of it,period.

  • thomasbj said:

    I have changed the inaccuracy about emcee Muwanvuwanvu in the first two paragraphs. Hope it now reflects the earlier performance at the World Music Day. If not, please provide the right names and roles.

    Now, continue this good debate. Your opinions are valuable!

    Thomas, editor startjournal.org

  • tayebwa augustus said:

    Its such a shame that a ” journalist ” can come out and publish such wrong facts and information about The Breakdance Project Uganda members personalities without thorough research . If this is the edited copy of your work then it leaves a question unanswered about the rough draft of your article.
    There’s more to writing an article than gaining attention from your followers of your work as a journalist.I respect you but i didn’t respect this article because it depicts the writer’s own Misconceptions about an event and the people behind the event.
    Take time to love your work mr.journalist, that is how you will be able to write articles based on the truth and not what you want people to think.
    Revising the article doesn’t change your thinking but instead i believe that learning to embrace the truth will teach you alot of lessons that no proffession can reach.
    Every body is a student and a teacher in BREAKDANCE PROJECT UGANDA.
    i JUST TAUGHT YOU SOMETHING POSITIVE AS IVE GOTTEN SOMETHING NEGATIVE
    FROM YOU.
    Peace and much love !!

  • Dominic Muwanguzi said:

    I have no intention to offend the organizers and participants of this “Raw Expression party”. I was there and reported what i saw.
    The truth- though hard enough to appreciate- is that Ugandan hip hop has not yet found its true voice.
    If hip hop is to get anywhere in this country it has to be raw. It has to have the local taste of the average people on the streets. Why do you dance to jay – z’s music or Tupac when we can compose our own sound right here.
    Albeit such mishap, the BPU is a great initiative. It is good to start somehere. We will finally get there. i honestly believe so…

  • Antonio Bukhar said:

    Hahaha funny… Wama get paid, u’ve done ur part but u should research more about the project. There might be a few apologies from u only if u gat sense of humour. Bless

  • Mukiibi Osman said:

    I’m sad and sorry to say this but to me this is just one of things where a writer/media house wants to make a quick name by write negative about a successful or recognized artist/group. I’m sure “start journal” have achieved their goal because I had never heard of them before a friend forwarded this misinforming article.

    Muwanguzi Dominic is a visual arts journalist who was contracted to cover a performing arts event. Start Journal must be operating a very low budget. I think things like performing arts and hiphop for social change are way to deep for Muwanguzi so I also blame his editor, Thomas.

    By the way, the editor, Thomas made corrections to the article in the opening paragraph and changed from calling BB Muwanvuwanvu a breakdancer to calling him DJ Muwanvuwanvu. Come on man! He’s a rapper/emcee. That shows that he didn’t even properly read the comments below. The editor called this a debate! No it’s not, it’s just a lesson for you to learn.

    Muwanguzi is a visual arts journalist but he was blind enough to see that Wasswa Donald didn’t do the graffiti art piece alone on that night. That’s why he didn’t recognize Lawrence Musoke who drew most of the cartoon character illustrations on the canvas. I can now see why you’re only looking our for BIG names. And you’re not even ashamed to say that graffiti wasn’t given enough attention. It was, you just weren’t paying attention mister. The MC even kept on mention it and even called out Wasswa on stage to talk about it. Perhaps you had already concluded your writing your article by then.

    Anyone who attended “Raw Expression” can tell that you wrote half of the article before coming to the event. It’s media houses like you that ruin the arts. We still have a very long way to go.
    I’ve never seen arts journalists like Gilbert Mwijuke, Batte, Serugo Moses, Ssejjengo Emmanuel and Titus Serunjogi writing misleading articles like this one.

    The writers I’ve mention are driven by passion not money or fame that’s why our brother Muwanguzi needs to learn from them.
    Never write about an organization after attending only of their events. Just write that one event.

    I’m also wondering why the writer didn’t publish this article in Ugandan native language?? I think the internet is a traditional African way of communicating that’s why he used it isntead of playing “Gwanga mujje” drums so we can all gather in one of the local villages to discuss this issue?? If you’re trying to critic culture, THINK TWICE.If you think “Breakdance Project Uganda’s work is not relevant, please school yourself by visiting http://www.bouncingcats.com
    Peace.

  • carolin christgau said:

    I am happy to read all those critical voices against this article which is indeed a shame to be published in an “art journal”.

    The journalist seems not being very firm in his knowledge about dance/hip-hop or even culture at all. We are living in the 21th century and I am astonished that there are still people who are not realizing the globalized world and dynamics of culture. Arts and cultures are not static anymore, they are mobile and connected allover the world – they live from exchange and new inspiration.

    Already the fact of having such a lively and authentic Breakdance Scene in Uganda should be noticed as a strong cultural movement and consciousness in Uganda – faraway of imitation, bling-bling and westernization.
    The music as been for its majority original African-beats as well as the lyrics from the rappers has been “local”. The style of those B-Boys are more than individual, because they are NOT fitted or artificial as some other “Hip-Hopper” does in African countries. At Raw Expression you found young people with identity, a vision of what to do in their lives – being themselves and making Breakdance.

    I think our “visual arts journalist” should better stay in writing about visual arts or start getting a feeling for contemporary culture in Kampala – like here Breakdance, Hip-Hop etc. – which succeeded to climb the boundaries of being caught in the obligation that Africans should stay Africans, in their old traditions and isolation. Those B-Boys are representing the fact that culture is dynamic and living through exchange and input which will be transformed and reinvented – with those Breakdancers in the most authentic way I have seen up to now.

    I really would appreciate a better selection of articles in such a magazine in order to avoid wrong informations and unprofessional statements. Critic is good, but correctness and professionalism are necessary for public reports.

    thanks caro

  • Katushabe Patience said:

    It’s doesn’t make sense to write about something that you don’t know. This is like attending one concert of an artist and going to back to write an article about his daily life and history without even interviewing him or doing a any kind of research. Actually, this is different because you even failed to report what exactly happen at Raw Expression. If one knows Breakdance Project Uganda, they would tell that this writer has serious issues.

    The journalist is disappointing but the person who has disappointed me the most the Wasswa Donald, the visual artist. As an artist, you should tell the people you work with if you’re not happy about the event organization rather than saying yes to everything and then going behind their back when talking to journalists. You should appreciate the fact BPU considered visual artists for this event. Give Breakdance Project Uganda feedback instead of the stereotypical and shallow minded journalist who’s aim is to destroy what innocent young and upcoming artists build.

    In Uganda, a few people can go to attend an only visual arts event for that many hours so I think bringing visual arts and performance arts/hiphop together is one way to give a platform to amazing visual artists like yourself. It’s sad that the pan Africanist visual arts journalist is looking at this as a competition and not cooperation. Every event has it’s own set up depending on the objectives or major focus unless Wasswa wanted to share the dance floor with the breakdancers so he can have them do breakdance battles on top of his canvas while he paints.

    It’s a bit funny that the so African writer, Dominic Muwanguzi and Faisal Kiweewa of Bayimba (who commented earlier) care so much about how Ugandans are not proud of their traditional culture BUT forgot the fact that on this webpage, they all wrote their religious/English names before their African surnames.

    Why not put your surnames first for example: Muwanguzi Dominic or Kiweewa Faisal. I saw the journalist wearing jeans and a long sleeved tshirt at the event, why not bark cloth or animal skin trousers? I think it’s still good to kill wild animals and wear their skins like our African fore fathers did. Let’s grow up we’re all part of this global culture and we all have components of it that we choose to pick. Muwanguzi you’re jeans weren’t baggy. What I mean is that wether you choose to wear fitting jeans like Brad Pitt, a suit like Tony Blair or baggy jeans like 50 Cent to me it’s all the same because non of those African traditional wear.

    Who gave Muwanguzi the power to decide the size and type of clothes others should wear and who gave Kiweewa Faisal the power decide or determine the right type/race of audience a Ugandan hiphop event should have. Let’s all give others the same freedom that we need them to give us.
    How can a CEO of a cultural foundation (Bayimba) not know these basic things.

    Look at yourself before you judge others.

  • WASWAD said:

    Katushabe i dont expect you to get disappointed given evidence that some of the information in the article is not right, this wasnt a competition,a one man´s show as quoted. I, Lawrence and oscar expressed ourselves on the same canvas.And non of us complained about the setup.I thank everyone for correcting/educating the writer.

    THE GREATNESS OF THE ARTICLE IS THE UGLYNESS OF SOME FALSE INFORMATION.

    Big up to all!

  • Katushabe Patience said:

    Thanks a lot for the response Wasswa. I’m glad you didn’t take things personal. I really think you understand where everyone’s frustration comes from.
    Thank you for mentioning the fact that some of the information in this article is not true.

    It’s a shame that he even failed to properly report about visual arts which he claims to be his area of specialisation. I’m glad you’ve mentioned the other two artists that you worked with at Raw Epression that the very passionate and critical visual arts journalist seems not to have noticed. I wonder how one can get paid by destroying other people’s names and work!

    Wassaw. The writer quoted you which makes it all seem real.
    Could you please comment again and help the readers, editor and Breakdance Project Uganda by mentioning the exact wrong quotes that the Muwanguzi claims to have gotten from you. It will help us to clearly know who’s right and who’s wrong. I’m sorry but its still a bit confusing since you made the very first comment which was highly praising Muwanguzi Dominic’s article.

    Thanks a lot
    Katushabe

  • Kiwewa Faisal said:

    Thanks Katushabe for educating me about the name arrangement … I never thought of it as a Pan-African representation, now I know.

    I was at the event and I was wearing a jacket and a shirt from H&M … am afraid that was a mistake too, so … I will have to think about my clothing from now and find good arguments for the animal rights movement, or shift to Swaziland where animal skins are accessible.

    ….

    The world has a problem with perspectives … because everyone has got his own small perspective!

  • SSEKITOLEKO JORAM said:

    Im wondering if Dominic Muwanguzi came at the RAW EXPRESSION EVENT, Then if he did it’s a shame and disgrace if he didn’t see how raw the event was for example the different styles of the amazing breakdancers,rappers like SURVIVOR,ABRAMZ and Sylvester, BB Muwanvuwanvu, Savu and more. The beatboxing , Live painting and Dj Ivan with his afro-fusion music.Again you might have mistaken BB Muwanvuwanvu with someone else because he is not a Breakdancer and neither is he a DJ, he is a Rapper so please check your article .
    Breakdance project Uganda doesn’t have 8 dance crews. Also the point where u stated that the youngest member is 12 years and the oldest is 22 is wrong. The organization works with all ages for your case, even people older than you. Thats why at times its better to first seek information or research more before you just write anything.
    And its wrong when you quoted that Breakdance Project Uganda is only interested in young artist and that we had no big artists on the event, who is a big artist to you? do you base the artistry on the amount of plays on the radio or the skill and how one masters his craft ? ask yourself that question, The artists that seem big to you are not necessarily big to us , The artists you saw at the event are big to us and real because they do what they love without terms and conditions being put on their artforms.

  • tayebwa augustus said:

    It might feel good for you to criticize, it might sound a little something but if it doesn’t mean anything. When you talk about BREAKDANCE moves not being original then it makes me doubt all the time you spend on the internet doing your research. Breakdance moves get inspiration from different moves all around the world which means that where ever the moves are made they represent the identity of those people in the way they are executed. When you look at some of the top rock moves they resemble “NTOGORO” dance in Toro, power moves share their inspiration from Brazilian CAPOEIRA which was a martial art practiced by the AFRICAN SLAVES In south America inspired by the need to fight without using their arms , a trait they connected to their motherland. This is something that a you, a person who just came at that event wouldn’t notice without thorough research. Cultures evolve where ever they manifest. That’s how new cultures come to be. You can’t expect me to wear backcloth just to prove a point that I am African because it doesn’t mean anything if I have no love for what I am and what I do .
    WOLF IN SHEEP’S SKIN
    Worse still you try to make up for your mistakes by re-editing the article which has already been published for the people to read. At this moment it’s your thinking that you need to change rather than your article mister.
    “Where is the Real voice of Ugandan Hip-hop”. I would have renamed this article to “WHERE IS THE REAL TRUTH IN MUWANGUZI’S ARTICLE ?”

  • Felix Lutakome said:

    When I read that article I see only hard feelings rather than what happened at the event. What’s with the resentment, man? And what’s really shocking is that you were there. If somebody came out and wrote something like what you wrote up there, when they weren’t there, it would be a bit justifiable. I even doubt if you came through that night. Now, that’s something,…that’s a real problem. And you being a journalist I would think that before writing about something, you would first do some research and gather as much info as possible. The way you write about BPU up there, is so wrong…it’s very plain that you didn’t bother informing yourself first before writing about it. I would advise, you google “Breakdance project Uganda” or visit http://www.bouncingcats.com and http://www.bpuevents.org. And the event was neither a party or a dance contest like you called it…did it really look like a dance contest to you? Did you see only breakdance battles that day? Party? And just because the music wasn’t Ugandan, doesn’t make it typically western or Jay Z’s…they also played a lot of African music, and when I say African I don’t mean, only that one song(Nakazaana) you heard from philly Lutaaya(RIP),..infact, it wasn’t only one song from him that was played. Most of the music that was played at the event was Afro funk music. I wonder where you heard the Jay-z and Tupac track playing that night,…because, personally I didn’t hear any Jay-z, Tupac, 50cent or any mainstream music at the event. I find everything you wrote in the article, so untrue. If I start commenting on everything you wrote, I will take hours. I don’t know you, but I’m pretty sure you can do better than that…..i’m sure from all the attention and feedback you’ve earned from this article, you’ve learnt something. I hope next time you know what to do.

  • Sylvester Kabombo said:

    Where is the real voice of Ugandan Hiphop?
    The above heading should be for a 1998 publication when Ugandan Hiphop was growing, and for you to use it now, it shows that you have not been following up the Hiphop scene in Uganda. I wonder why your article was given a bigger space with misinformation. Let me school you, the majority hiphop influences came from Africa and were taken to the West by the slaves and immigrants. Talk about Rap itself, it’s an influence of ancient African poetry (ebitontome, ebyevugo etc ) which we have had in Africa for ages…..
    What’s wrong with using English to send out a universal message? Our dance hall artists here in Uganda use patoi (Jamaican accent) that neither Ugandans nor Jamaicans can understand. Thomas and Dominic what do you say about that? It’s a fact that dance hall artists in Uganda are even more of imitators than rappers and breakdancers. You blame organizers for dancing to American music at the event. I think you should blame first Beyonce for using South African dance moves and dancers in one of her recent videos. Kanye West’s “Love lock down” music video has African traditional warriors, dressing and weapons . Doesn’t that make news for you? Does that mean that Kanye West is not REAL?? I know you’re going to tell me that Kanye and Beyonce are of an African descent.
    If Hiphop has most of it’s original influences rooted in traditional African culture, then it means that we’re bringing it back to it’s roots by bringing back part of what originally belongs to us.
    Uganda owns hiphop as much as Americans and anyone else on planet earth does.
    Hiphop is used as a tool to unite people of different backgrounds, race etc BUT it’s people like Muwanguzi Dominic who know nothing about it that use it to disunite people. If in march 2008 one of Hiphop’s living legend/pioneer, Crazy Legs from the world known legendary “Rock Steady Crew” came to Uganda to connect and build with Breakdance Project Uganda, WHO ARE YOU Muwanguzi Dominic to say that their work is not relevant , original and can’t go international????? You’re so uninformed.
    In 2010 in Graz, Austria, during the Four Elements international Hiphop convention Crazy Legs himself invited Abramz of Breakdance Project Uganda to join the Rock Steady Crew, we as Africans and Ugandans should be proud.
    Let’s all get our facts right in order not to feed readers on wrong information.

  • Sylvester Kabombo said:

    When I read that article I see only hard feelings rather than what happened at the event. What’s with the resentment, man? And what’s really shocking is that you were there. If somebody came out and wrote something like what you wrote up there, when they weren’t there, it would be a bit justifiable. I even doubt if you came through that night. Now, that’s something,…that’s a real problem. And you being a journalist I would think that before writing about something, you would first do some research and gather as much info as possible. The way you write about BPU up there, is so wrong…it’s very plain that you didn’t bother informing yourself first before writing about it. I would advise, you google “Breakdance project Uganda” or visit http://www.bouncingcats.com and http://www.bpuevents.org. And the event was neither a party or a dance contest like you called it…did it really look like a dance contest to you? Did you see only breakdance battles that day? Party? And just because the music wasn’t Ugandan, doesn’t make it typically western or Jay Z’s…they also played a lot of African music, and when I say African I don’t mean, only that one song(Nakazaana) you heard from philly Lutaaya(RIP),..infact, it wasn’t only one song from him that was played. Most of the music that was played at the event was Afro funk music. I wonder where you heard the Jay-z and Tupac track playing that night,…because, personally I didn’t hear any Jay-z, Tupac, 50cent or any mainstream music at the event. I find everything you wrote in the article, so untrue. If I start commenting on everything you wrote, I will take hours. I don’t know you, but I’m pretty sure you can do better than that…..i’m sure from all the attention and feedback you’ve earned for this article, you’ve learnt something. I hope next time you know what to do.

  • thomasbj said:

    Thank you all so far!

    Start tried to ask the question “Where’s the real voice of Ugandan hip-hop?” in an article based on the first “Raw Expression” organized at Open House in Kampala. This open debate has definitely proven that there IS a STRONG real voice of Ugandan hip-hop. We highly appreciate the energy, the temperature, and the willingness to teach us (the writer, the editor) and Start’s readers about the strong development of Ugandan hip-hop scene.

    Every now and then I find it relevant to point out that the core of Start’s content is the arts and cultures critiques. These are by definition not for everyone to agree on. But these are opinions expressed by arts journalists, sometimes they might point out something relevant, other times one would rather dismiss it as lack of knowledge. It is the readers’ privilege to comment.

    In any case, Start believes in the open discussion below the article as much as we believe in the critique itself. As long as one is within our guidelines of discussion (read the disclaimer) we feel the raw expression of differences of opinions is good.

    We are pretty confident that Start will give more coverage to this project in specific and the movement in general. Especially now that we try to broaden our scope to cover any art form that stands out in the local arts and culture scene, not only the visual arts that we have been focusing on in the past.

    And, if you look at the journal’s categories, not all of them are centered around the critical approach. We would for example be happy to receive and publish an article with the approach ‘the recent history and successes of the Ugandan hip-hop movement’ written by some of the insiders with the full insight of the development. Please contact me.

    As an end note; I do hope that there is a consensus among the most eager debaters that no artists, no artwork or no art events should be untouchable by negative criticism. And especially the hip-hop movement should acknowledge this, since a big part of the hip-hop movement is based upon delivering strong, political messages and criticising the ones in power.

    Like it or not, when it comes to the hip-hop arena, it is obvious that the ones involved in BPU are the ones with the definition power. Start must be allowed to challenge it, and others must be allowed to confront our ideas.

    Thomas, editor of startjournal.org

  • Niina Lisma said:

    Hi, read this article and among others im shocked how its stuffed with false information about Breakdance Project Uganda. I didnt participate BPU’s first Raw Expression night, but however it turned out its only one night, one part of what BPU is doing among youth and aduts so there’s no right to judge the organization by one experience.

    I found BPU and became a member when i was working in Uganda for six months from October 2010 till April 2011. As a finnish dancer i found it amazing how BPU connects people from different cultural backgrounds, gives everybody -also these “average people from the streets” as Dominic comments, chance to learn and share their talents by teaching and performing. Human beings cant be divided into boxes as who is better than the other. And thats what BPU is all about, it gives us all possibility to grow with our talent.

    What I found most outrageous was Dominic claiming that by joining BPU, youngsters are showing their admire towards 50cent and hate towards their own local culture. By today, kids and youngsters in BPU have teached me more about life than anyone. These kids have enormous potential in developing their own country and by spending alot of time with them I actually learned how much they appreciate their own country and how they all maintain Ugandan culture in everything they do.

    Africa, at least Uganda is not living at the stone age anymore, cultures allover the world are globalizing and developing and I do not see that as a bad thing. So what if members of BPU wear sneakers and caps, thats part of hip hop culture all over and if u become hip hop artist thats one simple thing that connects u to other bboys/girls, rappers, mcs and graffiti artists. It seems to be the journalist here who’s most after commercial and “american style” of music if only excamples given are commercial music made by ugadans and JayZ among 50cent. At least me, not once heard those two artists at Nsambya sharing hall while practising with BPU members for 5 months.

    January 2011 we were practising a main piece for annual Hip hop for society show organized by BPU. Piece was called “Social Responsibility” and it was concerning different important and topical issues in Uganda, like forthcoming elections, responsibility in community and importance of educating each other. The whole piece end up with african dance that we all made and performed together.

    Among my sister I have seen members representing BPU in Europe. Tabu Flo performing Abasezzi -Night Dancers in London, Abramz and kids in Poland and Kaweesi Mark working with youth in Denmark. All together what we have seen is ugandans representing Uganda, keeping it real, having fun but enjoying to go back to their own roots. So its crazy to claim that they are copying something else and teaching youth to become somebody else when BPU is nothing but REAL. Be what u are as Abramz and Sylvester are rapping in their song “Kyendi, Kyendi”.

    BPU is started and still run by ugandans, so thats what already makes it real and close to ugandan culture. And so what if kids at BPU dream about becoming big hip hop artists like Common, Mos Def even 50cent.. that just shows that they have goals in their life.

    peace and happiness, Niina

  • Skinnie said:

    We are blessed to have such events in our country. But so to ask, how many have you attended and how many have u organized so far? its crazy to say this but just in case u did not know we have come a long way so why the fuss with this kind of non-sense you are publishing to a public domain up in here! Man everyone has opinions and i would not say it was either good or bad but the truth speaks for itself…May be next time you write something with content and we can all appreciate your effort instead of dissing some people who are doing great things and changing lives…we are all a nation here to stay so one man’s poison does not spoil the whole broil!

  • zak40 said:

    ( … deleted paragraph … )

    when i read your article, i see a lot of lies. The artists that you named to be big I will not mention their names again one of them is my good friend, but up to now, he still tells me that he missed to attend the real HIPHOP event ever happened in Uganda. I asked him why he had to say that the Raw Expression event is the biggest event ever happened in Uganda. I was amazed at his reply. He said, (BPU) Breakdance project Uganda events are ever thick. And he told me that he cannot wait to attend the Hip Hop for society Event, in January, Also by Breakdance project Uganda. So man its high time we are only waiting for you apology, because as for me I am pieced at you. Stop telling lies to the people, because whoever attended the Raw Expression event loved the event. I am going to send the link to the owners of Open House because one of them said that, he had never experienced any king of Ugandan Hip Hop, they were amazed at the performances, yet you in your understanding could come up with such an article. Man I am pieced at you. You have disrespected Uganda Hip Hop

  • thomasbj said:

    zak40’s comment has been moderated because it includes threatening language.

    I would advice debaters to write comments in line with our disclaimer, please.

    Thomas, editor

  • Mukiibi Osman said:

    You’re welcome Thomas.
    I think there’s something that I think you’ve failed to understand. There’s a very BIG difference between critiquing and lying. What Muwanguzi is feeding the readers is lies. I’m surprised that after reading all the comments full of facts and references you still haven’t pushed him to apologize to Breakdance Project Uganda and the readers. I’m really surprised. If Start Journal is mostly dedicated to visual arts and Wasswa the visual artist states in his second comment that some of the information wrote about him in this article is not RIGHT, then I think before we ask about hiphop we should ask “WHERE’S THE REAL VOICE OF UGANDAN VISUAL ARTS?”

    Wasswa even went ahead and said “THE GREATNESS OF THIS ARTICLE IS THE UGLYNESS OF SOME FALSE IMFORMATION”. Is that really the kind of greatness that Start Journal articles should have?

    CRITIQUE: Thomas, where in the world have you seen a football critic critiquing theatre? You can’t critic something that you’re not well informed about. That means I can also go to Hollywood and write very shallow and misinforming articles about movies and I can get away with by saying I’m writing it from a critic’s point of view even if I know nothing about movies.

    I think your journalist should have been a writer of fiction stories. I believe he’d do better at that since he’s proven not to be able to report things the way they happen. Thomas please see the difference between critique and lies. Muwanguzi said that the breakdancers danced to Jay-Z and Tupac’s music. Now that’s total lies because neither of those artist’s music was played at Raw Expression. WHAT A CRITIC!

    First of all, Tupac and 50 cent have no break-beat music. He didn’t even hear all the classic Afro beat palyed on that night. What A critic!
    Do some research before you write. Just saw you know breaking is an element of hiphop BUT not every hiphop artist/rapper makes break beat music so please don’t get it twisted.
    If 50 Cent, Tupac etc had music that bboys and bgirls feel there’s also no problem with them getting down to that music. Why force themselves to dance to a Ugandan song that’s not nice and deliberately sitting down on a western song that moves them. Is that KEEPING IT REAL or KEEPING IT WRONG???? Keeping it real is being true to yourself not to a stereotypical journalist who thinks that the world should revolve around the ideas that he has for other people.

    We all pick ideas that work for us. Ugandan journalists like Muwanguzi use note books, pens, recorders, internet, cellphones etc which is all imported culture BUT in your field, they want to you stick to local music however bad it sounds. This writer would even push you dance ballet on Ugandan culture because we have our music.

    It’s also funny how the journalist and Kiweewa Faisal of Bayimba festival gets offended by BPU having an international crowd at Raw Expression. Take a look Bayimba is funded by Europeans. I mean Dutch, Germans, Danish etc and look above this page you’ll notice that Start Journal that Muwanguzi works for is sponsored by the German embassy BUT these two people getting a hard time seeing such people attending local events because they claim it’s not the right type of audience.
    That keeps me wondering if should only keep the foreigners as events funders and sponsors but not a target audience!!!!!

    I’m sorry Thomas. To me this is not a debate.

  • thomasbj said:

    Dear Mukiibi Osman,

    you have many good opinions which I find easy to agree on.

    Since you are raising the issue about critiquing vs lying and giving the example of which music were played, I find it necessary to point out that the article says: “It was as if they had been transported from a hip-hop music video of Jay-Z or Black Eyed Peas to this venue.” and “By joining the breakdance project, the youngsters are like saying “it’s cool to be like 50 Cent, and it sucks to be local.”” The article is not actually claiming those artists were played.

    Dominic makes a comment later about “why do you dance to Jay-Z or Tupac?” Which – for the sak of the argument – I think he means in a general way, not referring to this event only.

    However, I honestly feel you’re saying something extremely important in your comment, and in fact give a very good answer to the question the writer is bold enough to ask: Why the direct imitation? Why not root in local culture?

    “WE ALL PICK IDEAS THAT WORK FOR US! Journalists uses imported note books, recorders, internet, etc.” Hip-hop is a globalized culture, there are elements part of that which are not rooted in anything local, so why should breakdancers, rappers, beatboxers do it.

    And I think that are such great arguments to the questions we dared to ask.

    Which for me means we are debating. So if I really should disagree with you, I think you are wrong about this not being a debate. I think it is!

    Thomas, editor

  • Dominic Muwanguzi said:

    I appreciate all the anger being vented as a resulted of this article. As a journalist i have occasionally met such bitterness criticism for my work.
    I know i could have got several facts wrong, but i tried to get hold of either Abrahamz or Sylivester when i was writing this article, but they could not return my calls.
    I ended up writing the comments of those i talked to that night.
    However, what has caught my attention the most in the harsh criticism be meted out to me is that everybody seems to ignore the good things i said about BPU.
    Why doesn’t anybody criticize me for having said that BPU promotes social change among the youth or that the party was great despite the hicccups here and there?
    Criticism is good but it should also celebrate the good points. I honestly believe my article did not miss any of that.
    Thank you

  • Lawrence said:

    Well B4 i do comment there is a disclaimer that advises contibuters to the thread to “Be nice.Keep clean and stay on topic….well it doesn’t seem like the writer to the article really would want me to follow this…
    He goes on ranting about issue(am not saying being a critic is bad, weather positive or negative…but he should be able to have enough base and support…like some contributors said above)
    that said,i did attend the event and i think it was a successful one that inspired positive social change to the youth..and still does thanks to the work of the BPU….regardless some wack writers who use baseless writing with ingnorance trying to down play the efforts.
    Am guessing its not about the style or copy-cating or even originality…its all about youth getting inspired by hip-hop and break-dance to have that positive change towards society…and therefrom they can be inspired to get original and fuse the different styles!!!
    …FYI Dominic Muwanguzi, dude if the subject concerned did not respond or return your calls, don’t just turn to writing jibberish just because u feel like the urge to vomit whatever non-so true non-sense it is you want to air out…which by the way stunk hence the bad reactions towards your rubbish article!!(hopefully shapes you up)..and i highly doubt weather those were the comments of the people or your own garbage…despite you not getting any feedback from the parties concerned!!
    OUT

  • Niina Lisma said:

    Dominic, yes you are saying good things about BPU in the article but then right after making these points incorrect. Like when saying that BPU promotes social change, you should make a good point on how they do that. Cause writing “by joining the project youngsters are like saying: its cool to be 50cent and it sucks to be local” gives people an idea that thats the social change what BPU is promoting for youth. When every member or person who has worked with BPU knows thats not right. What ive learned from BPU members is to be proud of where you’re coming from, to appreciate what u have, who u are and make the best out of it.

    Secondly, its sure is not only Abramz and Sylvester who can give correct interviews about Breakdance Project Uganda. All members are capable to talk about this project and tell their opinion and the truth. What u were doing is making their statements wrong. Like Abdul saying: “its my belief that we are driven by the same intentions as hip-hop artists in the U.S”, he is sure not talking about these celebrities you are mentioning like Jay-Z, Black eyed Peas and 50cent. He is talking about the roots of hip hop and those artists who are making real hip hop music. So before writing anything always go to the roots and educate yourself before claiming that this celebrity hip hop with girls shaking half naked and guys rappin with expensive jewelleries and jackets on is THE ONLY HIPHOP there is in USA. Go to the roots of hiphop, check for example “Africa Bambaataa-peace, unity, love and having fun” from youtube and check http://www.shakethedust.org and find out what b-boy Abdul and all the other BPU members are talking about and what hiphop is all about, bringing people together. Thats the hiphop they are driven by and thats what they are mixing with elements of ugandan/african dance culture.

    So im asking you not to claim that BPU members have told you wrong information when u are the one making their statements wrong by using the for your own good and twisting them how ever you wish they’ve meant it. What u should do now is to apologize not make more failing excuses. Go to sharing hall, try breking with these members, meet Oscar at his graffiti classes where together they are creating pretty cool and real things. Please, experience the project before judging them by one event where u obviously didnt even concentrate enough to write about it. Thanks, Niina

  • Kiwewa Faisal said:

    Well, as I have also been observing the growing debate “interesting ?”… and very much in support of both local and international artistic expressions, exposure and experience – I find some of the commentators senseless to the efforts of the original writer and not having a second thought to account of their responses. Yes, we all get criticized – all our lives and I personally have been criticized – but it’s important to be mindful and appreciative of both the good and bad criticism.

    I know Dominic as a very enthusiastic and promising young arts journalists who has the guts to explore his ability to write. And I also know that he knows many of the great writers he would like to step in their shoes – and this platform, for him I know is a way forward … I salute you again Dominic for following your passion.

    Katushabe and Mukiibi commented on my intention to judge and determine others target audience – they are both right, I don’t have the right to judge or determine, and I apologize if it in anyway offended the BPU team … perhaps it was just one of my small perspectives. But I suggest we don’t miss out on the point, which I see many of the responses do more towards Dominic’s intention as the origin of this debated article. And yes, some of his writing might not have been well researched (am sure his hands have constantly been on his head for whole this time wondering “Gosh why did I write this way ?”) – but many of his comments where of his short observation and some how general, as Thomas says, as well as I wrote in my first commentary.

    In regards to the BPU event, many of us attended it … loved it … but it those not mean that we can not point out a few challenges which might sound like they are only pointing at this very particular event. Abrahams has organized so many public BPU events and they have always been different in set up, audiences and spaces. Am sure the challenges he faces some of us cannot dare bare them – but the fact is that we all do face challenges with our genuine intensions – sometimes we never even know. At Bayimba, even though some might say that we are successful in implementing our ideas, things have always come up and we have been publically and individually criticized – most times without even us knowing, But, the good thing about it is that we learn from it and always work towards improving our methodologies.

    Abraham and the BPU team are doing a great job in giving hope to so many youngsters – I have said this and I stand to say it again, but it those not mean that Abrahams and his team do not stand to be advised, neither do I as a director at Bayimba. We can sometimes know so much but miss out on the small know how. If some one came and told Abrahams that am here to help you manage or direct BPU, I don’t think he can refuse … so that he can focus on training others to Break Dance as well as working on his own Break Dancing skills to be more of the best in the country – but I guess he has little time to do so, as he has to train, manage and promote BPU – of course with a few hands here and there.

    I regularly call myself a retired artist – so many people don’t even know that I was once a contemporary musician, which I gave up to focus on managing Bayimba so that it can achieve its vision of helping other artists in the country among other things. This makes me proud and sends a signal that there are two important roles that both deserve full attentions rather than being offended by ones target audience. As we say at Bayimba that “there are thinkers and those that implement”

    There is also a very big difference between having foreign support and foreign audience. We can all be educated on how to attract “relevant” audiences but my comment had no personally feelings to BPU’s audience efforts … whether foreign or not. Support to arts and creative initiatives in Uganda has not been for so long a national priority and it still has a long way – but what would be our role among other things as entrepreneurs of local initiatives is to prioritize and target national local audiences which is a true strategy to developing home grown support – so that we stop depending on foreign support, hence having foreign audiences or have no support at all because our locals don’t find the need to give. Which is not only a BPU challenge – as I stated it. But also us at Bayimba and other profiled social status initiatives and events.

    Therefore, audiences and funding support or sponsorship as you call it; are two different topics that are still challenging many of us.

    If you are wondering if we should keep foreigners as events funders and sponsors but not a target audience – my direct thought would be why not understanding the roles of both parties and addressing them according to your vision and mission.

    Its always great that Dominic’s articles always bring in new audiences to online debating – in whatever case, all comments serve the purpose and are all perspectives. Am happy to be part of it.

  • Mukiibi Osman said:

    Dominic’s reason doesn’t justify the lies in his article. As a professional journalist, you can’t say that I tried to reach an artist for an interview but failed to reach him so I made a false story on him. How about holding on to publishing your article until you manage to get an interview from them because artists also have work to do. They work just like you mister.

    I think I should also make up a story on Rihana and Jay-z since I want to publish an article about and I can’t reach them. If that was the case then all journalists would be making easy money. I repeat, easy money!
    Failing to reach Sylvester and Abramz doesn’t justify the lies in your article because you lied about the music and the visual arts at Raw Expression. You also changed artists’ quotes. Maybe its a blessing that you didn’t reach Sylvester and Abramz because it would have been a shame reading an article with false information that you claim to have got from.

    If you can make up a story like “I saw BB Muwanvuwanvu breakdancing at the World music day”?? That really tells a lot about how you’re never mentally present at events because BB has never been a breakdancer. World Music day and Raw Expression, thats too much.
    Did you also fail to contact him so you made something up??

    It’s also funny how you and Kiweewa Faisal are talking about Sylvester and Abramz now in order to save yourselves from what you wrote earlier, but before you said it was teenagers rapping in english at Raw expression. Aren’t you ashamed that you classified Sylvester and Abramz under that category.
    That’s so disrespectful to Ugandan HIPHOP. If the Ugandan big Hiphop names you mentioned in your article, GNL and Navio credit Sylvester and Abramz in their songs, shows and interviews as legends and veterans and people who have uplifted the Ugandan hiphop, who are you two guys to call them teenager trying to like 50 cents??

    You were both present that night, you saw them perform “kyendi kyendi” (I am who I am), you saw 30 something year olds like Survivor rapping about local social issues.
    How real do you want Ugandan hiphop to be??
    I would like Muwanguzi, Kiweewa and all the readers to watch Sylvester and Abramz’s video of of “kyendi kyendi”, one of the songs they performed at Raw expression
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9RfrhcoK7U&feature=related AND also watch their other video “Lemerako” (hang on) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGHQA8z4KUA . If Faisal and Dominic still call them teenagers who want to be like 50 cent, then they’re disrespecting the whole Ugandan hiphop community.

    Thomas, you should also watch those and also check out http://www.bouncingcats.com since Muwanguzi said that they can never be international. And by the way Abramz is 28 years old and Sylvester is 30 years old but ofcourse I understand if calling them teenagers draws more readers to your article. I still dont call this a debate.

    For Faisal Kiweewa’s knowledge Breakdance Project Uganda’s foundation is not laid on international funding. Weather they get that support or not, they have and will still exist.
    Peace.

  • thomasbj said:

    Let us try to move this “debate” in another direction, and discuss how this movement can develop.

    If I understand correctly (and please have in mind that I don’t have a Master in neither hip-hop in general or African hip-hop in specific) there are nearby countries which have taken up most elements of Hip-hop culture, blended it with a variety of local elements, and developed a significant style of its own. Tanzanian hip-hop – the Bongo Flava – being one of them.

    And it is interesting to see the difference between the descriptions of this one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanzanian_hip_hop) and Ugandan hip-hop (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_hip_hop#Uganda) on Wikipedia.

    I think it shows that it is relevant to address whether Ugandan hip-hop potentially could move in similar directions.

    But then, it might also be argued that the current movement is as strong as it is in Tanzania, and further that the Raw Expression-event really showed that – which seems to be a concensus within the debaters.

    Then I would like to hear with the debaters how you would keep on developing Ugandan hip-hop, so it becomes a brand, an industry and potentially a source of income.

    Startjournal – by raising issues like this – do really care about any creative and significant art form, and we do want the publication to be a place where one can share ideas and push things forward. I really think any cultural industry any where in the world always could do better.

    “Promotes social change” is all well and good, there are many activities that could do so, but this movement has a great potential, and at the end of the day you would want to create jobs and opportunities that generates money.

    Please enlighten us about where you are going! And how will you get there.

    Thomas, editor

  • Mukiibi Osman said:

    I think one of the best ways through which this positive hiphop movement can grow further is by negative, unopen-minded and not passionate journalists keeping a big distance from it.
    I would suggest that you don’t write articles about it if you’re not interested in going below the surface, discovering and publishing the truth.

    What if this article had been published in print media? Would go to everyone’s house to correct the articles with a pen? Do you know how much damage you would have done to Breakdance Project Uganda?? because the members and supporters wouldn’t have been able to fix these lies. It’s always stereotypical media that kills real hiphop.
    And then ask “where’s the real voice of Ugandan hiphop?”. How do you expect it to be heard if you’re killing it.

    That’s like me poisoning you and I rush to call the ambulance. And afterwards I get disappointed that you’re only complaining about the poisoning but not considering the fact that I was the same guy that called the ambulance.

    Thomas, hiphop was never meant to be a brand or industry. I appreciate the fact that you want hiphoppers to get income out of it but that’s not the main reason why people are in it. It’s good to make money because you do hiphop BUT it’s not good to do hiphop just because you want to make money. Hiphop does MUCH MORE GOOD than just generating income. I think you need to understand it or live it before thinking of ways to make money out of it.

    Every country has both an underground and mainstream hiphop scene. Mainstream media promotes unrealism and stereotypes. If hiphop was just a bussiness then the majority of hiphop artists would be loosers because the number of commercial artists is way less compared to those who do it for peace, love, unity and having fun.
    Let the scene grow organically before we turn it into a bussiness. People need to first go through a stage of self realisation through this culture then everyone will decide how they want use it or where they want to take it.

    Hiphop in Uganda doesn’t have to be like hiphop in Tanzania. Hiphop is natured by the reality of a particular place. That’s why in Uganda BPU has taken it to Kampala, Gulu, Mbale, Kitgum, Masaka etc and all their classes are free of charge.
    Thats so rare because in many countries people consider hiphop an urban culture. BPU has given lots of people a chance to share a piece of this culture and make it their own. They’ve taken it to local schools, international schools, orphanages, youth centres, streets, prisons, police, ghettos, slums, rich communities, outside countries etc. This is one thing that you’re all neglecting and it has shaped Ugandan hiphop. It’s a culture both competition and cooperation are promoted.
    The members of BPU are not paid to go around teaching but they love their work and they are not complaining.

    THE REAL VOICE OF UGANDAN HIPHOP IS NOT GOING TO BE FOUND ON THE MAINSTREAM, IF THAT’S WHERE YOU’RE LOOKING. IT’S ON THE GROUND AND THE VOICELESS PEOPLE IT SPEAKS FOR ARE NOT ASKING FOR WHERE IT IS BECAUSE THEY EXPERIENCE ON EVERYDAY. THROUGH IT THEY ARE HEARD.

    It takes way much more than being a journalist to recognize it.
    PEACE

    http://www.bouncingcats.com

  • tayebwa augustus said:

    Thomas, there’s a point you need to note ,when you try to bring contrasts between the ugandan hiphop scene and the tanzanian hiphop scene then it proves that we are on different pages. HIPHOP is much more bigger than the brand or the industry that the mainstream media would want to make it in order to benefit from it killing its raw essence which is based on knowledge ,wisdom and understanding. According to people who really know what HIP and HOP is ,HIPHOP’s potential is not measured in how much money an artist makes from selling their skill but its measured in the impact on the environment around.as much as it seems inactive on the mainstream,in the underground its more active than ever. It means much more, check these links out to enlighten you about what i mean http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWa4UpajKTc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nVzSr3yDcA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MewVoWmdbyY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWmD-s0tb7Y&feature=related
    WHAT I MEAN IS THAT RANK IS NOT SKILL BUT SKILL IS RANK !!

  • Christin said:

    Dear author and editor of the article in discussion,

    As discussed and agreed by the readers of the article there are obviously some really dissapointing and irritating statements in this publication.
    I will not point out the ones that struck me the most, even though I would have some to add to the ones allready mentioned. And this is not only, because I have been a part of BPU for some time and have experienced the project myself, but mostly because there are certain mistakes that a journal should never publish, in my opinion.

    I understand and support the intention of causing debates. And I believe it is a good act of the representors to follow up and react to the debates.

    However, I would have wished for a clear apology for the wrong information, quotes and the (from my point of view embarassing) obviousness of the lack of information gathered by the writer in the first place.
    Furthermore mistakes in spelling, grammar and the use of factually wrong notations should not be acceptable.

    I would love to see you give “an insider” the opportunity to write an article from a different view and I appreciate the willingness to learn more and accept and work with the critique on your side.

    I hope your idea of “moving the debate” into the direction of understanding each other more and getting a real inside of the scene will be fruitful.

    Thank you for the opportunity of this open discussion.

    Best wishes,

    Christin

  • Martin Kharumwa said:

    I’ve tried to re-read this article after Dominic’s comments, hoping to find something i missed in his tone and critic of the event.

    The way I see it, If I was reading from a food critic, i’d exepct him to have a strong understanding of food, and a good palate, and a music critic, a wealth of knowledge of the history of music, and a good ear.

    This was written by…. a pretty ordinary Joe with no concept or understanding of Hiphop, or dance it would seem, you come of as something of an “events” critic, with a hint of a cultural conscious that warrants the righteous dribble.

    I reckon you annoyed everyone when you thought it appropriate to reference 50 cent and JayZ in an article about HipHop.
    There is so much i don’t understand about this article, lets take the dress sense, I was there, and photographed a number of the dancers as part of a project on Kampala Fashion,
    You actually branded their dress sense as “superficial”
    It came off as judgmental because before you get to “critic” fashion you’d have to, at least a little, have some sort of understanding of “local fashion and culture” that you keep referencing.

    This was just bad journalism which we’ve kinda grown to expect of Ugandan journalists and you have to own up to it, own up to being a fish out of water or defend yourself a little better, offer me a look see into this customized hiphop fusion culture that you wish to see…. show me your version of what would be authentic, “african” hiphop.
    Show me what that looks like and where it gets its clothes from, and please do so after going to work everyday in a kanzu, and then maybe we’ll all get to make sense of this world you speak of.

  • Kiwewa Faisal said:

    May be Sylvester should share some of his experience as he has been coordinating the Youth and Hip Hop program which started this year with Bayimba … we all learned a lot from it, and hopefully much more in the coming years – but more significantly, it gave us an insight of where Ugandan Hip Hop is heading and how the youngsters look at it …

    Sylvester, would you be kind!

  • meniez said:

    Great stuff to read. I can attest that there is some voice of hip-hop in Uganda. This article and debate thus has sparked off some love and a voice for hip-hop in Uganda giving a better understanding of the latter. Thanks to all for sharing, keep the hip-hop spirit burning, keep sharing.

    Cheers

  • Mukiibi Osman said:

    The writer thinks that BPU’s work has no originality, uniqueness and can’t have international demand. He can’t even use google on his own computer. Here are the steps: Go to your computer, open any browser, type google.com, then search “Breakdance Project Uganda”, then click the links to open the different BPU related pages. Last step is for you to come back and read your article again to compare what you wrote with what you read and watched about BPU on the different web pages.

    For everyone’s knowledge, Breakdance Project Uganda’s documentary film “BOUNCING CATS” is premiering on the Documentary Channel this month. This will be the film’s debut on USA TV. It was screened on the you the discovery channel last night.

    This film features BPU’s work/members, Crazy of the legendary Rock Steady Crew, Will.I.am of the Black Eyed Peas, K’naan, Mos Def and it was narrated by Common, an American socially and politically conscious artist.
    This documentary film is going to be shown 6 times on the Documentary Channel. The writer and editor should let us know which other Ugandan hiphop initiative(artist/group) has got such an international demand. You can’t talk about African hiphop initiatives that have made a global impact and not mention BPU.

    Follow the link below ro read about, BPU, Bouncing Cats and Documentary Channel screening dates.

    http://www.examiner.com/dancing-in-national/bouncing-cats-hip-hop-brings-hope-to-uganda-review

    http://fusicology.com/2011/11/17/bouncing-cats-ugandan-b-boy-film-to-premiere-on-documentary-channel-111911/

    Also visit http://www.bouncingcats.com for the trailer, other screenings and BPU info.

    It’s pointless to have an urguement with people like Muwanguzi and Kiweewa Faisal who know so little about where Ugandan hiphop has come from, where it is today and where it’s going.

    You two guys only know like 3 percent about BPU because they never chase mainstream media for coverage.
    PEACE

  • kaweesi mark said:

    Abraham `Abramz` Tekya the founder and director of Breakdance project uganda talking about breakdance project uganda and her its documentary film called bouncing cats`www.bouncingcats.com` in USA a day ago.muwanguzi, kiwewa, thomas and everyone, check it out.its a good lesson for those three to learn about our work.
    http://www.collegiatetimes.com/stories/18912/breaking-boundaries/p2
    peace and much appreciations to all for educating the miss educated people here.
    `BREAKDANCE FOR POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE`

  • olivia said:

    I am no expert at hip hop in Uganda but i do know that when you get criticised, it might do you some good to check if the criticism has any truth in it and act accordingly. Attacking the writer doesn’t take away the criticism- if you believe the writer was wrong- back up your defense with evidence not emotions.

  • Mukiibi Osman said:

    Olivia,
    You don’t need to be an expert at Ugandan hiphop. You simply need to have the basic descipline to properly read both the article, comments and then write your own comment. You’re talking about evidence? That simply means you haven’t followed any of the links which have been posted in the different people’s comments.

    You shouldn’t comment just because you want to but you should read, follow links, then talk about evidence. You and the writer fall under the same category because it seems like he wrote half of the article before attending the event and I can tell that you commented before reading and following up the different comments.

    You don’t need to be an expert, you just simple common sense and descipline. If you don’t have enough internet time to read and follow links, please don’t comment.
    peace