Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

LACIS Alumna Jessica Diaz-Hurtado

by Bette Benson (LACIS Social Media/Outreach Intern, BA, LACIS, Pol Sci, & Intl Stud ’15)

Jessica Diaz-Hurtado Photo Credit: Korie Ferguson
Jessica Diaz-Hurtado
Photo Credit: Korie Ferguson

Here’s another example of LACIS alum doing great work! Jessica Diaz-Hurtado graduated from UW in Spring 2013 with a LACIS degree and certificates in Chicana/o and Latino/a Studies.

Currently, Jessica is finishing her master thesis at UT-Austin where she is looking at how young people in Rio de Janeiro use public, private and NGO spaces within the hip hop movement as a tool to reclaim space and build identity. She was in Rio in May and June of 2014 filming for her documentary, Ta Ligado: Rodas e Hip Hop no Rio (You Feel Me?: Cyphers and Hip Hop in Rio)

From Ta Ligado’s website:

“Rio de Janeiro is a city with rapid urbanization and increased marginalization representing an understudied context to look at how youth respond to changes in urban conditions and public institutional support such as funding for cultural centers.

The project was filmed while the city under went increased international attention because of the 2014 World Cup and upcoming 2016 World Olympics. There was no way to get away from the politics of displacement and the erasing of what is a rich and dynamic collection of communities and cultures in such a time of massive development.

Youth organizations and hip hop events in Rio de Janeiro serve as an alternative outlet to bring awareness and talk about the social issues that are ignored and marginalized.Ta Ligado captures a vibrant and diverse culture through interviews and community events that occurred during the summer of 2014.”

Jessica on her findings in Rio: “I found that hip hop is a a universal language and is able to connect people who are marginalized from around the world. Young people have so much power and talent and using this cultural movement to not only claim an identity and space, but to exert this power they have is important to recognize.”

This is how Jessica describes her most memorable moment in Rio: “The first time I was invited to the west side of Rio by an MC – that is the moment I won’t ever forget. It was a huge hip hop event under the bridge of a train station. There were at least 100 people doing graffiti, MC battling and skating. It was all for the hip hop event called “Choque de Realidade (Reality Shock).” I loved every moment of it. After going to the event on the West Side, I felt part of a community, and I kept on going back.”

How did LACIS prepare Jessica for her research in Rio? “LACIS gave me the tools to readily analyze and understand cultural and racial politics. This understanding influenced my research in Rio and helped me deconstruct ideas and everyday occurrences.”

Sounds amazing, Jessica! From all of us at LACIS, parabéns!


Check out the trailer for Ta Ligado above, and make sure to like the Facebook page for updates!