Hip-hop artist MV Bill calls out Rio’s heavy-handed approach to policing the favelas while promoting a more human alternative: engaging youth in the arts.
The famous "City of God" slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a site of abandonment. Vital social services provided by the government to other parts of the city never reach the favelas, where the majority of the population is Afro-Brazilian. Hip-hop artist MV Bill says, “historically, the only arm of government that enters that community is the police.” MV Bill is one of many residents who are determined to change the community by both steering youth away from violence and altering public perceptions. As an MC, he uses his lyrics to voice his complaints against the state. As a social activist MV Bill is the co-founder of Central Única das Favelas (CUFA), a network of NGOs working in urban areas across Brazil to engage youth in music, sports, and the arts. His network has now spread to 11 countries, including offices in the Spain, Argentina, and the United States. MV Bill says of his work, “My biggest inspiration is waking up every day… seeing the transformation that has happened over the years, and realizing how much more we need to accomplish.” This short film profiles MV Bill and others who are working for a more just, peaceful community in the favelas.