Wednesday, September 23, 2009

East of Havana - New Cuban Hip-Hop Film Premieres Online

by Richard Ivory

If music is an agent for change, then perhaps the ripples of Democracy are already alive in Havana in the music of its young boys who are retaliating against there Communist oppressor via Hip-Hop. Proof of the underground Hip-Hop Democracy movement can be seen in the latest documentary East of Havana. Possessing the undeniable talent and charisma of pop icons, three fearless performers push self-expression to its sharpest, riskiest, and most triumphant point.

East of Havana is a blunt, unflinching close-up on the lives of these young rappers compelled to address their generation's future from the confines of a Cuban ghetto. Soandry, Magyori, and Mikki are the defacto leaders of Cuba's rebellious underground hip hop movement.

In America, Hip-Hop like other musical formats is very much a commercial product not necessarily known for being a potent political player. The music is generally aligned with leftist politics and defines itself as being generally opposed to authority. However the Hip-Hop Industries' push to elect Barak Obama to be President has all but made the music a staple of "Democrat get out the vote drives".

If there is mention within Hip-Hops lyrics relating to policy issues or foreign policy the lyrics tend to come with a liberal slant. Issues relating to racism, police brutality, and the C.I.A. tend to get special attention. As with most liberal views on the American experience, the negatives get much more play than the positives. While the West's dark ventures are highlighted, there is little if anything in conscious Hip-Hop to provide historical context to the listener. Such talk of course would be counter productive to the image of revolution that so many artists seek to portray.

Despite the liberal love affair with Fidel Castro many are silent on the oppression of artist by his regime. This is ironic given that one of the loudest and most innovative democracy movements inside Cuba is coming in the form of music and Hip-Hop in particular. Most artists ignore the oppression of artist, poets and musicians by leftist dictators. Why focus on Fidel when you can speak and sell buttons bashing America's involvement years ago in Nicaragua or Chile? Who really has time for what's going on now?

East of Havana is a must see for anyone who believes that the dark days of Fidel Castro's torturous regime is all but over.

Richard Ivory is a political consultant and writer for and is the founder of, he has worked for the Republican National Committee and was the college outreach director for the Republican Youth Majority

You can watch this film on Amazon VOD ( or iTunes (

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