How did connecting hip-hop to the conflict in Sierra Leone come about?

As the chief editor of Russels Simmons’ Oneworld magazine, my goal was to bring the internalist flavor of the “one world” name to life by using my editorial real estate to promote the notion of global community. I believed it was important to inspire our demographic to travel, to become citizens of Earth rather than just America. I realized that using hip-hop parlance was the best way to engage such a broad body of readers. I also realized that that same power could be utilized in films to make some rather compelling statements.

I believe that travel is as important a tool for self-development and discovery-it’s a facet of education that many Americans take for granted. By seeing how people live around the world, we better understand how our lives here impact such distant communities. Seeing is believing, and believing transforms change into something more than an ideal.
I was especially fixed on how youth culture was using hip-hop dance, music, art, fashion and multi-media to define themselves while trying to make sense of the world around them. As a result, in Oneworld, I published features about hip-hop in New Zealand, South Africa, Native America (that is, on the res.), among other things.