Jose Junior: the man who reclaimed Rio’s favelas through music

Americas Now

Rio de Janeiro is as famous for its wonderful beaches and incomparable landscapes, as for its almost one thousand favelas or slums where gangs still battle to control the territory and a lucrative drug business. It is estimated that 22% of Rio’s population of over 6 million reside in the favelas.

Back in the early 90s, the tensions between criminal organizations and the police force reached a peak, giving birth to the NGO Afro Reggae. The organization’s purpose was to counteract the drug-fueled violence and police repression with community-based initiatives. Afro Reggae relies on music and urban art to provide the local youth with alternatives to a life of crime.

Its founder is 46-year old Jose Junior and he is this week’s Game Changer.