“Home is that peace of mind, the rays of sunshine / will go to war with any anybody trying to take mine.” –StaHHr
Since the dawn of our humanity, the struggle for housing and persistent confrontation over land has been a reoccurring motif. Whether it is the rise of colonialism and its conquests over indigenous territories centuries ago, natural disasters laying waste to countless homes, or the gentrification of our cities; the ongoing fight toward recognizing housing as a basic human right is unfortunately no stranger to many.
In light of this issue international hip-hop record label, film production and educational events company Nomadic Wax has teamed up with the creative story-telling platform and advocacy organization Housing is a Human Right (HIAHR) to establish a voice in this ongoing battle. The collaboration with HIAHR has birthed the project HOME: one that blends authentic, first person audio testimonials from HIAHR’s work in South Africa and the US with the voices of emcees, poets, and singers. The result is a musical conversation aiming to educate, empower, and inspire its listeners to become engaged with the global struggle for housing.
As a creative storytelling project, HIAHR has been working to connect diverse communities through the subjects of housing, land, and the dignity of a place to call home. “Wherever we go, we hear the same story again and again. Insecurity. Uncertainty. But people getting organized.” said Michael Premo of Housing is a Human Right. “The global uprisings that have erupted in the last few years signal a growing global consensus that a change must come. And we are constantly looking for creative ways to share stories that reflect this new reality. We’ve worked with DJ’s playing audio stories in laundromats and vacant storefronts, and so doing a Mixtape just made sense. There is no better way than through the universal language of music to express that the problems we face, while they vary in scale and intensity by region, they affect people around the world in profound ways.”
Under the guidance of DJ Boo, this mixtape has evolved into an audio documentary, touching on subjects ranging from inadequate access to employment and healthcare, war, displacement, immigration, eviction, homelessness, and the foreclosure crisis. Boo, a longtime resident of New York City, was displaced after Superstorm Sandy left most of Lower Manhattan underwater. This momentary stint of displacement caused him to think about the state that we live in: “The power outage became, what I refer to as, ‘the equalizer’. Once the power went out, wealth and status didn’t matter. Regardless of what tax bracket you came from, you were left in the dark, and in the cold…for many of us it was an inconvenience, but there were so many others that lost everything in a matter of hours.”
Boo continued to delve deeper into the project’s content in stating, “Working on this mix and listening to some of the stories made me think of what progress means. Does having a Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or Wal-Mart truly improve a neighborhood? Are they good for the health of a community by creating jobs, or do they eat the local mom and pop shops, forcing them to close and sending others into unemployment or forced retirement? Where is the balance?”
No matter what your race, nationality, or personal beliefs may be, the issue of housing is one that is increasingly becoming unavoidable. It is, and will continue to be an ongoing battle to grant the most basic of human rights to people who more than deserve it.
See below to listen to the HOME mixtape, and free download.
Andrew is Editor-in-Chief of MISSION's Social Good Summit Daily, and Managing Editor of MISSION.tv. He is a global enthusiast with a passion for the road less traveled. Andrew has worked with numerous socially conscious artists from around the world in the pursuit of inspiring cultural understanding and exchange through entertainment. This fascination with the world at large has taken him to over 20 countries (so far) through studying, volunteering, and writing about his travels, with no signs of slowing his globetrotting nature down.