A Man Steps In To 'Rob Them,' And They Applaud And Join In. But It's Safe, I Swear.

"Rob" them?! What! No, for real, it's not what you think. This community in Sao Paulo says what they're a part of helps carve out their identity and helps them start *living* again. You'll probably want to join when you see it, too.

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Narrator: Storyhunter. Sao Paulo, Brazil

Woman: Poet or poetess, male or female, who knows? Who cares? They're just words. Feeling, reflection. What matters is that poety enters through the ears, through the pores, through the mind and through the heart. Who knows? With that voice, voice, voice, voice, voice, voice, Cooperifa!

Narrator: In 2001, poet, Sergia Vaz, from the outskirts of Sao Paulo, created the open mic group Cooperifa.

Man with Microphone: [Crowd talking] The grime of Leopoldina, it's running. It's running and seems to say, people are hungry, people are hungry, people are hungry....

Sergio Vaz: Cooperifa is a cultural movement from the outskirts that for eleven years has transformed Ze Batidao's Bar into a cultural center. And that every Wednesday, without fail, people come from all over to hear and recite poetry. It's here where poetry comes down from the pedestal and kisses the feet of the community.

Man 2 with Microphone: [Audience noise] Hands up! I'm going to rob your attention! G-Nato once again destroying the censorship. Don't come if you don't have it, dictatorship! It's not an image, not a standard for a model agency. The robber's face from the hut; the essence of my style of speaking, my suits, my walk. Key by nature, without even forcing it...

Man 3 with Microphone: I sell po-, I sell po-, I sell po-etry! I've got a ten, got a fifteen, got a twenty. In my hand it's a lot cheaper, huh?!

Edith Marques: Cooperifa is important in my life because it helped me start living again, communicating with people, become happier. Now I see even more than I used to when I came here. But now I am much happier because at the Cooperifa I learned so many things. So many things that I can't even explain with words.

Tatiana Botelho: It's culture, affection and transformation. Culture exists because people have values. Affection exists because people learn that you need to exchange a hug, some warmth, some recognition. And transformation because with all of this, you become more acclimated to being...I don't want to say a better person, but by establishing and carving out your identity.

Man 4 with Microphone: You can't educate us on unequal opportunity. Talking about my freedom...Talking about my freedom...

Sergio Vaz: I think that culture has that kind of power to reinforce people's education, to transform the common person into a citizen. This citizen is the one that is going to transform the country.

Narrator: In July 2012, Cooperifa for the first time visited Rio de Janeiro's Largest Favela Rocinha.

Narrator: Rio de Janeiro.

Sergio Vaz: In '99 I released a book in Rocinha, which was a book of empty thoughts. Then, it became a love story with the Favela of Rocinha. I had already done some work there. So it was an amazing thing to climg up the Rocinha Favela. A hill so emblematic...the great Rocinha Favela. Climbed up with poetry, climbed up with poems. For us it was a luxury.

Woman: It is emotional to talk about Rocinha because...of Sergio's story. It makes me so d**m emotional.

[crowd dancing and chanting]

Woman: I'm going back there on July 7th to Rocinha. The way we were received with respect, care. It was so beautiful! It was one of the best moments of Cooperifa, unforgettable! I think I'm going to be a little old lady, senile, remembering this moment.

Woman with Microphone: Mood. Who has one? To be known, don't behave. I'm speaking about the sufferer, the sower, and he wants to win. Style, without make-up it's the national rap of the Cooperifa family, and instinct is an outcast.

Sergio Vaz: Lively daisies or weeds? Never had a spring. Grew without a father, without a mom, without direction and without an arrow. Feet on the ground, never had a bike. Jaugo wasn't born, he debuted. Little white skin, never had a winter. He had a dad, mom, notebook and a fairy godmother. Victor became a crook, Hugo a hedonist.

Edith Botelho Oh, I am so happy with all of this. Maybe you guys don't know how important this thing is to me, huh?

Woman: It was a special emotion, and it still is. I am favela...I was and always will be the favela. It was amazing. It was one of the best times in the Cooperifa.

Woman 2 with Microphone: [singing with audience] Ahhh, whatever it needs to be, it will become . . .

There may be small errors in this transcript.

The original video was made by Storyhunter and is licensed by us, Upworthy. You'll see near the end it asks you to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Go onnnnnn, you know you want to.

May 01, 2014

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