The Chicago Drill and Activism (shorthand: Chi DNA) feature documentary and cross-platform, multi-media project explores the creation, meaning, perspectives, and connections between drill rap and the resurgence of grassroots activism since the early 2010s through the eyes of the people involved.
The third episode in Chi DNA's micro-doc series explores the notions of exile, refuge, and displacement in Chicago and abroad. International refugee crises (Assad in Syria, Sierra Leone child soldiers, etc.), neighborhood gentrification, and intracommunal violence are all byproducts of similar manifestations of de jure segregation, disenfranchisement, and global/local hegemony. Cultural representations in books, movies, and music struggle to make sense of the larger geo-political forces that create such destabilization of regions and displacement of peoples. These cultural practices and products serve as bottom-up responses to the top-down processes of white supremacy and global capitalism. Enter drill rap: Just as global refugee crises in the Middle East often come out of vacuums of power left by decades of intentional destabilization over oil, power, and resources by the West, much of the intracommunal violence propagated in drill (and in many artists/activists’ lives) are the results of decades of colonization and over-militarization of their neighborhoods. Activists and organizers speak to the narrative myths that hinder cross-cultural and mass mobilization while reiterating the importance of dismantling problematic institutions, policies, and oppressive systems to achieve true liberation.
Chicago Drill 'n Activism
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SoapBox Productions and Organizing
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