One of the best things I did this year was go to Rio, Brazil. I was there to do a feature on Afroreggae for iD magazine, and spent a few days in four different favela's.
Here's a couple of pix from Cantagalo, the favela that is very close to Copacabana beach. You basically drive five minutes, if that, and up a little hill is Cantagalo. It ws the first favela I went to and I truly pooped my pants for the first couple of hours. Seeing 11 year-old kids wandering round with guns and sacks of coke, but in *actual* real life and not on the tele, was scary, I can't lie.
I had the most amazing time there though and I hope to get back to Rio sooooon....
These are some kids at the Afroreggae centre in Vigário Geral, the place that effectively founded Afroreggae, after police stormed the favela and killed 21 innocent civilians in 1993. Police were responding to the assassination of four of their colleagues the previous day by local drug dealer Flavio Negão. Yet in their unlawful retaliation, thy killed neither the man responsible, nor any other traffickers. A family was murdered in cold blood, a bar bombed indiscriminately. A month prior, Rio police took the lives of eight street children in Candelaria, who were shot point-blank by off-duty police as they slept outside near the city’s cathedral.
Within a month of those horrific events, Jose Junior and his friend Anderson Sa, who had lost his uncle in the mass executions in Vigário decided that rather than wreak revenge they’d attempt to find positive solutions. Afro Reggae was born and has helped thousands and thousands of kids find an alternative route. They currently have over 2000 people attending classes in the four favela-based centres.