A Return To Diplomacy Opens Doors For Humanitarian Efforts
With New Regulations In Place, Outside Groups Such As Forest Hills Tenleytown Music Group (FHTMG) Are Already Making An Impact In Cuba
On December 17, 2014, Barack Obama and Raul Castro made the announcement that the United States and Cuba would restore full diplomatic ties for the first time in more than fifty (50) years. New travel and trade regulations were enacted, thus enabling U.S. travelers to visit Cuba without first obtaining a government license; chipping away at government sanctions, and for the first time in years encouraging commerce and outreach among the two detached nations.
Since its return to diplomacy, various initiatives and entities have made headways in an effort to build cultural bridges; undertaking both humanitarian efforts, and raising awareness to the battles that lie ahead.
One of these organizations, Forest Hills Tenleytown Music Group, www.FHTMG.com, an independent record label based out of Washington, D.C. is among the most subversive record label in the world. FHTMG is a collective of Washington, D.C. natives and artists who are internationally-minded and socially-oriented. Most known for its online fundraising campaign which went viral, ultimately sending label artists Pacman and Peso to Pyongyang, North Korea to film in and around the city; also coinciding with the birthday of the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.
For the second time in ten (10) months, FHTMG is returning to Cuba to continue its collaboration with Cuba Skate, www.CubaSkate.com, in an effort to support and grow the Cuban skateboarding and hip-hop communities. The initiative will provide access to skateboarding equipment that is otherwise unavailable on the island; in addition will cross-promote culture and lifestyle. In doing so, the group hopes to foster a constructive environment for Cuban youth that will have a positive impact on the greater community.
In 2015, Cuba Skate has been featured in The Atlantic, The New York Times, PBS News Hour, NBC The Huffington Post, the BBC, Vice Sports, The Washington Post, NPR, Reuters, Mashable, Fusion and many other publications for their Cuban efforts. FHTMG is honored to be working directly with Cuba Skate and its founder Miles Jackson.
“At FHTMG we are building strong grassroots connections between the US – Cuban Hip-Hop and Skate scenes; more specifically, the communities within Washington, D.C. and Havana. Also, we are producing fresh and unique content by collaborating with Cuban artists and infusing their eclectic flair. We have been heavily involved in Cuba for over five years; with the recent developments between our governments we are now hoping to take our efforts to a whole new level. FHTMG will be releasing songs, videos, and documentary-style content shot in Cuba, and with the collaboration of Cuban rappers, skaters, and artists.”
Abu Rahss – FHTMG
FHTMG’s Abu Rahss and affiliate Zeroni will be traveling to Cuba from December 30th – January 9th with Cuba Skate and special guests Salt and Silver, Familia Skate Shop, Feed It Forward DC, various professional skaters, as well as other volunteers and supporters.
Zeroni is an emerging 20-year-old R&B/Neo-Soul artist from Washington, D.C. who recently released her debut EP, Times We Had, which has been met with many great and recent reviews. While on location, Zeroni will be shooting a documentary focused on women’s perspectives and issues, loosely based upon the highly successful, Humans of New York, www.HumansOfNewYork.com; the documentary will be supported by FHTMG.