Bronx Berlin Connection 2011 chronicles the eponymous cultural exchange program which brings together youth through hip hop. Started as a collaboration between German social worker Olad Aden and CUNY Prep, a GED academy in the Bronx, the program travels with youth between Berlin and New York to make music and produce videos, all while expanding their worldviews and serving as an opportunity for growth and understanding. Hip hop serves as a common ground and shared language for them to learn about each other. This film chronicles the 2011 visit by Berlin youth to the birthplace of hip hop, from ciphers on the subway to performing at a Fordham University class, to learning lessons from hip hop’s veterans and pioneers. The organization takes a powerful step towards using hip hop to build community and expand education.
Beginning with Style Wars and Beat Street, this series has thoroughly covered the historical context of hip hop in New York City. The more recent Bronx Berlin Connection 2011—and associated international movement—brings our learning to the broader stage. In a TED Talk, Bronx Berlin Connection program director Fabian Saucedo explains that hip hop is “a communal symbolic response to deal with dire circumstances.” He goes on to assert that hip hop is a powerful platform for youth to “develop their own identities and speak about issues affecting their community.” Not only is this true for New York, it’s proving true for the international community as well, where issues of belonging, race, and identity are at the forefront.