Iolly Amancio is a brave woman and an inspiration for thousands of women throughout Rio de Janeiro’s sprawling suburbs. She lives in Mesquita, one of the 13 cities that comprise Rio’s metropolitan area, known as ‘Baixada’ (or low-lying lands). A black, poor singer from the outskirts of a city with 7 million people, Iolly fought discrimination and extreme poverty to become the lead vocalist for the local Rock’n Roll band Gente. She is a proud participant of a UNDP-led pilot project that harnesses the transformative power of arts and music as a major force for the localization and implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its global goals.
“Black women from the suburbs face stigma and double discrimination, particularly in the artistic world”, explains Iolly. “But by joining forces with other musicians from the peripheries we are now stronger, and much more self-confident”, says Ms Amancio, who prepared for her first journey outside Brazil to deliver a presentation in New York City’s famous Chelsea Film Festival.
The Festival is featuring a documentary film Baixada Never Gives Up inspired by the collective of artists and musicians who co-developed with UNDP a pilot project designed to bring the 2030 Agenda closer to ordinary citizens and youth in the suburbs of major cities of the Global South. Directed by independent film makers Juliana Spinola from Brazil, and Christian Tragni from Italy, the 90-minute documentary film was launched in Brazil in May 2017 and exhibited in Maputo, Mozambique and at the UNDP Country Offices in China, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.
With a population of almost 4 million people, the Baixada is one of the most violent metropolitan regions on Earth. Despite all odds and the persistent effects of widespread violence, poor people, volunteers and creative artists and musicians from the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro got together to fight injustice, violence, and discrimination. From the inception of the pilot project in June 2016, this growing coalition of arts to advance sustainable development has already reached out to 6 million people throughout Brazil.
Some of the activities of the pilot included the production of a promo CD with 7 SDG-related songs, ranging from Reggae, Rock’n Roll, to Rap; various Rap and MCs Battles with young people in the Baixada; and two major music shows by the ‘Baixada Never Gives Up’ collective. A first music video for the Rock’n Roll song ‘No One Will Be Left Behind’ has just been released by the collective.
With an ethos of ‘Leaving No One Behind’, the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a powerful force to motivate citizen action for a better future. For UNDP’s Director for Sustainable Development, Nik Sekhran, “our strategic focus is to work with citizens that are left behind to co-develop solutions and creative approaches to advance the SDGs. Our pilot in the Baixada region of Rio showcases that music and art can be strong allies, helping not only to inform ordinary citizens about the SDGs, but also increasing accountability and transparency with more active, informed and engaged constituencies’, says Mr Sekhran.
About the Chelsea Film Festival
The Chelsea Film Festival is an international film festival aiming at enlightening the work of emerging filmmakers, producers, and actors, focusing on the theme of ‘Global Issues’. It empowers the work of risk-taking storytellers and helps discover and develop independent artists and audiences around the world. Baixada Never Gives Up was exhibited on October 20, 2017.
UNDP and the Chelsea Film Festival organized a special film session at the UNDP Headquarters in New York City on October 23, 2017 and featured a discussion roundtable with the Baixada Never Gives Up film directors and singer Iolly Amancio from Mesquita, Brazil.
In New York: Francisco Filho (firstname.lastname@example.org); + 1 646 717 4356
In Rio de Janeiro: Denise Silveira (email@example.com); + 55 21 999 444 888
Open collective of musicians ‘Baixada Never Gives Up’ – Eddi Mc (firstname.lastname@example.org); + 55 21 974 734 974
Watch the teaser video for Baixada Never Gives Up film on YouTube: