AfroReggae is a Brazilian organization founded in 1993 by José Junior with a clear mission: to reduce the use of drugs, disease, and crime in the favelas through artistic education. In August 1993, a terrible massacre occurred in the Vigário Geral favela of Rio de Janeiro. The police entered the favelas and 21 innocent people were killed. At this point, AfroReggae was already becoming known among the community and thus was in a position to make a difference by offering people, and especially children, alternatives to a life of crime. People were "awakened." The group created a band with free workshops in order to keep children occupied and prevent them from becoming involved in drugs and gangs.
AfroReggae is present in Colombia and in the U.K. The main founders of the organization in Brazil are Petrobras, Natura, and Banco Real. The organization tries to manage its funds independently. AfroReggae has made a compromise with the favela leaders: to not interfere with what the gangs do, but indirectly try to influence the community in order to reduce crime.
How we met:
We met AfroReggae through a friend in Rio de Janeiro. Once we explained Playing For Change's mission to connect the world through music, they were excited to collaborate with us. They led us into a nearby favela and we set up a recording session in the middle of the street!