Rap awards make Rio shake

Massive celebration of the black culture for the first time in Rio de Janeiro

Silvia D
Rap and hip hop artists experienced something very new, this week. An Oscar-like award ceremony was held in a traditional theater in the central area of Rio de Janeiro to celebrate best albums, videos, magazines, producers, DJs, new artists, etc, in a pioneering event for the black culture in the country.

Since most of the rap and hip hop groups and vehicles come from São Paulo, choosing Rio to house the shindig was already a surprise, if it weren’t for the fact that nothing quite like that ever happened in either towns. There is a great deal of cultural prejudice in the country, and TV cameras usually find rappers only when the latter are involved in some kind of illegal activity. For the first time, the cameras were there to find stars, and not outlaws.

Named Hutus (after an African warrior tribe), the award crowned the hard work developed by artists and producers who have literally come from the gutter and managed to establish labels, record companies, radio shows, magazines, fomenting the "street culture", as they call it, and transforming it into a type of informal industry.

Big rap celebrities like Xis, MV Bill, Thayde & DJ Hum, GOG; prison groups like 509E; all-girl groups like Visão de Rua and Anfetaminas crowded the theater, performed and tested the rapport of their music with different audiences: after the ceremony, a huge, open party followed, with 30-minute shows non-stop till the sun came up. The power of hip hop was definitely testified during the event, and values pursued by rappers, like union and self-esteem, proved to be fruitful.

The expectation, now, is toward the continuation of the initiative. Conceived and put together by producer Celso Athayde, the Hutus awards boasted a glance of glamour over a newer form of artistic expression that is largely underrated and still has a lot to offer, not just aesthetically, but also socially and politically. It is likely that a greater number of consumers will now see Brazilian rap with different eyes, letting go of the favela approach and entering the good sound/cool music mode. Hopefully, the media will also let go of the gangsta image that has been disturbing the peace of such artists.