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Hip hop started as a distinctly urban New York voice; it was a creative means of communication for marginalized black youth to disrupt status quo narratives on anything and everything. Despite what the contemporary naysayer (or hip hop purist) has to say about “the state of hip hop” today, it hasn’t strayed far from its roots. But the message is now amplified: take a look at the Global Block Foundation. It’s through hip hop—its ethos, culture and music—that the Global Block aims to spur positive social change and inspire people all over the world to foster innovation, activism and creativity in their communities.
Founded by George Martinez, one of the Global Block Foundation’s core “developmental action areas,” as they call it, is social enterprise and economic development. (The other two include cultural diplomacy and youth development—all intertwined.) It’s through a crucial and innovative mix of talent, social capital investments, technology and the global marketplace that the Global Block Foundation helps to spur personal sustainability.
Some of the social enterprise ventures include clothing, promoting ethno/eco/agro tourism in the Garifuna Village of Masca, Honduras, and of course, music distribution. On the community development side of things, the Global Block Foundation supports partners like the Sylvia Institute for Afro-Indigenous Culture and Education, a school-based mentoring program called Education Growth Opportunity Success (EGOS) and Grass Roots Organizing America, a political literacy project focusing on advocacy and empowerment toward sustainability.
Indeed, a key tenet to the Global Block Foundation’s being as an organization is sustainability, that is, sustainable community building. Just as social businesses and social enterprises must themselves find a way to create long-term change and growth, groups like the Global Block also beget the need for sustainability—economically, holistically, spiritually and creatively.
The featured video, dubbed the “Occupy Wall St. Hip Hop Anthem: Occupation Freedom, Ground Zero And The Global Block,” is a glimpse into the visionary endeavors of the Global Block Foundation, and more specifically, how hip hop itself is a foundation for change.
The block; this block, your block, my block, our block, the block— well, it’s global. And there’s no turning back.