Next Level: Jordan

From July 29 to August 2, 2019, beatmakers Mark Martin and Kaila Mullady, dancer Dinita “Queen Dinita” Clark, MC Tef Poe and site manager Jaci Caprice Clark traveled to Amman, Jordan as part of the Next Level Program.

Next Level, a cultural diplomacy program that uses hip hop to create connections is an initiative of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Meridian International Center that promotes conflict transformation, entrepreneurship and artistic and professional development among younger and under-served audiences around the world.

The artists offered workshops in conflict transformation and entrepreneurship, including one aimed at teaching young girls the importance of building self-expression and confidence through dance. Through these workshops and local events, participants developed a greater sense of community and leadership, and were inspired to work towards resolving community issues.

Describing her experiences, beatmaker Kaila Mullady wrote:

"So blessed to have been able to work alongside these amazing individuals. I am so proud of the work we created. I am back in the New York City hustle as a different person than when I left. Thanks for the inspiration and amazing memories!"

The Next Level Team collaborated with several local artists during their residency, including Abood Aladham and Amer Altaher, two leading figures in the community who participated in workshops aimed at strengthening communal ties through conflict transformation and leadership development. Maxeem Ayyad and Ban Howeidi, owners of a local dance studio where some of the entrepreneurial workshops were held, also participated in discussions on hip hop education and youth leadership.

During the residency, beatmaker Mark Martin shared his thoughts in an Instagram post:

"Team Jordan! What an amazing group of passionate hard working individuals. Can’t believe this was from day 1 - more than a week more of workshops, fun, and hanging to come. Big big thank you to @aboodaladham for helping us connect to the @jordanbeatboxchampionship and the Jordanian hip hop scene. Grateful for the dream team @kailamullady @queen_dinita @tef_poe @chesehyun and fearless leader @thesoulstudieux"

The Residency’s final performance was held at the Al Shams Theatre and livestreamed on Facebook. Local graffiti artist Ammar “Sin” Sinan painted a mural outside of the Theatre to mark the occasion, and one of Amman’s top DJs, “Dj Boka”, performed. Next Level’s Team Jordan is part of a larger cohort of American MCs, DJs, beatmakers, and hip hop dancers seeking to build global community through hip hop culture.

Project summary

Next Level: Jordan | August 2019
Number of Visitors: 5
Regions: Near East and North Africa
Countries: Jordan
Impact Areas: Cultural Diplomacy
Program Areas: Culture
Partners: Public Sector