The project, which is offering free online dance classes during this lockdown season, was started as an initiative offering practical skills such as crotcheting, weaving and more to women and girls.
Two months ago, a Ugandan initiative dubbed She Is Hiphop, started holding free online dance classes taught by female dance teachers from different parts of the world. So far, among the teachers that have taught is Khoudia Roodia (Senegal), Kim Elliott (New York), Angela Canalese (Australia), Mel Charlot (Los Angeles), Sandra Katz (Sweden), Nubian Nene and Trashina Conners (New York) and Caroline ‘Lady C’ Fraser (Canada) .
The dance classes range from waacking, house dance, old school hip hop, grooving to hip hop fusion and they have attracted more than140 students from countries such as Uganda, Ireland, Kenya, Dubai, DR Congo, USA, Australia, China, France, Nigeria, Senegal, India, Singapore, Canada, Japan, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Thailand, Philippines, United Kingdom among others, with the numbers rising as more people learn about the classes.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, She Is Hiphop used to hold free regular skill-based workshops in Kampala such as dance, writing, poetry, beatboxing, crafts making, crochet, menstrual hygiene, and mental health.
These free online dance classes are a continuation of the work that was being done before the Covid-19 crisis with optimism that they continue even after the lockdown due to public demand and the impact created so far.
She is Hiphop also held the first-ever female hip hop festival in Uganda with the first edition happening last year. This annual festival highlighted and showcased female artistes, educators, and positive role models from different regions of Uganda and other parts of the world. However, the second annual festival which was scheduled to happen on March 28, was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The aim of the initiative is to build girls and women through hip hop and the initiative was founded by Ugandan female artiste, Moureen Kifuko Drichiru, aka Bgirl Key. This initiative uses hip hop and other arts as a tool to bring together people of different backgrounds to share and exchange practical skills, knowledge, developmental ideas and inspiration in various areas of life.
Although the classes are free, Drichiru says they are open to donations, which are meant to go towards organising classes.
“Although the teachers are teaching for free, we have to pay for things such as Internet data, airtime to coordinate the classes as well as support passionate students who cannot afford data. Apart from that, we spend a lot of data on administrative zoom meetings. We have not received many donations but we have definitely had so much fun in the classes and we are grateful that we are able to share skills and impact lives across the globe,” she said.