Afro-Colombian Rappers Vie for Grammy

“For the descendants of African slaves who populate Colombia’s poorest, most corruption-ridden corner, music has long been the most natural of distractions from a very hard life.

And so it is for ChocQuibTown, a soulful, hip-hop trio in the running for the year’s best Latin-Rock/Alternative Album at the Grammys on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles. Their music is a soapbox that you dance to.

“De Donde Vengo Yo” (Where I Come From), which won Best Alternative Song at the Latin Grammys in November, is a spirited lament of the hard-luck life: multinationals and corrupt politicians get rich off gold and platinum; poor blacks get run off their land by illegal militias.

Forty-five percent of the 450,000 inhabitants of the band’s home province of Choco, which is along Colombia’s northwest coast bordering Panama, has been uprooted, while 70 percent live on less than a dollar a day. Paved streets, electricity and running water are rare.” – ABC News (more here)


Changing lives in Choco

I’m always happy to see wealth being redistributed instead of seeing more of the same. The problem with society these days is that people influenced by the Western way of thinking seem to agree with living in a dog-eat-dog kind of world. Its a bit psychopathic, to say the least…and why would anyone want more than their share of the pie when someone else has never even taken a bite. The following is about someone you very well may know doing something you may not have known she does, spending millions of her own money to directly improve the lives of her people. 


“To travel with multi-million-selling pop star Shakira is to travel behind tinted windows, on private planes and on Shakira time – always at least an hour behind schedule and always stopping for autographs and photos. It involves long waits while she has hair and make-up touch-ups before emerging from cars, planes and buildings.

But at the centre of the superstar entourage is a young Colombian who is disarmingly friendly and passionately eloquent about education.

And education was the reason we travelled with Shakira to the north-west border province of Choco, deep in the Colombian jungle. It is remote and poor.

Shakira at her school in Colombia
Education provides a lifeline to children caught up in civil conflict

And it’s an area devastated by the civil conflict that has ravaged the country for nearly half a century, forcing three million Colombians to flee their homes.

We were heading to a school Shakira has funded.

She told me: “One-hundred per cent of our kids that we have in our school here have been displaced or have families that have fled their home towns.”

Shakira has been here several times and the reaction is always the same: frenzied rapture. She is surrounded by exuberant children as she makes her way down dirty, pot-holed streets, past wooden shacks and open sewers.

But the welcome she gets is not just because she’s a famous pop star. In an area of grinding poverty she provides a lifeline.”


For the rest of the story and a video of Shakira talking about her trip, go here to BBC.