The U.S. Embassy in Dhaka brought threeworld-renowned U.S. Arts Envoy beatboxers to Bangladesh to engage the public on the art of vocal percussionthrough community outreach, masterclasses, and media appearances December 16-23.The Envoy beatboxers from the Beatbox House in New York– Gene Shinozaki, NaPoM (Neil Meadows), and Bangladeshi-American Amit Bhomick– judged and performed at the U.S. Embassy Dhaka-sponsored BattleBoxBD 2019: National Beatbox Championship on December 20 at the Jamuna Future Park. Thousands of fans attended the four-hour competition that sawBeat Fizz (Khandaker Shams)crowned national champion. Beat Fizz will go on to represent Bangladesh at a major international beatbox championship in 2020.
BattleBoxBD 2019: National Beatbox Championship saw 16 Bangladeshi beatboxers compete for the national title. Beat Fizz won the event with Rafte Knix (Rafiun Nabi Nahin) as the vice champion. Following the event, U.S.Arts Envoy and beatboxer Gene Shinozaki said Bangladeshi beatboxers can compete with the best in the world and expressed his optimism for the future of beatboxing in Bangladesh.
Ambassador Miller attended the December 20 championship and December 21 reception hosted by Beatbox Bangladesh to celebrate the successful conclusion of the event. Ambassador Miller said, “The U.S. Embassy has been a friend of the beatbox and hip-hop community in Bangladesh since 2014.” He continued, “Music and the arts have a unique ability to connect people and tear down barriers.”
While in Bangladesh the three U.S. Arts Envoy beatboxers collaborated with several Bangladeshi musicians and on December 19lead a masterclass for 70 Bangladeshi hip-hop and beatbox enthusiasts at the Edward M. Kennedy Center for Public Services and the Arts (EMK Center).
Beatboxing, also known as vocal percussion, is a musical style that usesthe mouth, tongue, and voice to mimic traditional musical instruments, drums, and other sounds. Beatboxing began in New York City and rose to prominence as a pillar of hip-hop in the 1980s. This musical styleremains closely connected with hip-hop culture and is a fundamental element of a capella singing.
The U.S. Arts Envoy Program shares the best of the U.S. arts community with the world to foster cross-cultural understanding and collaboration and to demonstrate shared values and aspirations. Under the program, U.S. arts professionals – including performing artists, visual artists, poets, playwrights, theatrical and film directors, curators, and others – travel overseas to conduct workshops, give performances, and mentor young people. The program seeks to connect with international publics who might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with U.S. arts professionals.
The visit by the three U.S. Arts Envoys is just one of the many initiatives by the U.S. government to promote greater cooperation, dialogue, and mutual understanding between the people of Bangladesh and the United States.