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Adults have described slum life, but these kids' versions are much better.

These kids might be growing up in tough places, but they don't want you to feel sorry for them — they want you to see their dance moves.

Adults have described slum life, but these kids' versions are much better.

When it comes to seeing images of people in developing countries and war zones, we're all used to seeing "more of the ugly," said filmmaker Adam Sjöberg. But when he traveled the world, visiting Cambodia, Colombia, Uganda, and Yemen, the kids he met didn't want to focus on that.

The kids didn't want to talk about their hardships — they wanted to show off their dance moves.

So Adam shot a film about it. But he didn't just put their cool breakdancing skills on tape. He gave the kids the mic.



It grew into "Shake the Dust," a documentary that shows how breakdancing has changed the lives of children and teens living in poverty across four different countries.

On the streets of Kampala, Uganda, 12-year-old Karim Lokwa works hard at his breaking skills, even though his thumbs are conjoined on one hand. He's also the film's narrator.

He opens the film by saying:

"We have been told that the life of the street is all about survival. But we are doing more than just surviving. Our dream is to change the slums. "

"Hip-hop doesn't belong to any of our traditional cultures, but hip-hop brings us together as a family," added B-boy Abramz Tekya, the founder of Breakdance Project Uganda (B.P.U.).

"We know we can't dance our way out of poverty, but breakdancing fills our hearts with hope."

That's just one of the things Karim explains in the documentary. The filmmaker, Adam, broke down why their global connection with hip-hop is so strong. In an email interview, he told me:

"Many of the characters in this film have no real family to speak of ... but they all had such resilience. Breaking and hip-hop gave them power, reminded them that they have dignity. ... Without education, without my prompting, without any resources, they just see their world as having potential."
— Adam Sjöberg

And these talented hip-hop devotees aren't just talking about change — they're all about changing lives.

In Uganda, orphan Kaweesi Mark is the founder of Break-Fast, one of the largest breakdancing competitions in East Africa. He's also the finance chair of B.P.U., whose mission is "to engage young people in elements of the hip hop culture to build leadership skills and promote social responsibility."

Another B.P.U. member, Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar, who was raised alongside his four brothers by a single mom, helped shoot "Shake the Dust." Afterward, he "took a massive risk for a Ugandan — he got a micro loan for a nice camera. He began shooting on his own — obsessively," says Adam.

And it's changing lives. The 22-year-old now has shows in Europe and was recently profiled on The New Yorker's Instagram feed.


Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar @kibuukaphotography is 22 year-old photographer from Uganda. He documents Hip-Hop culture in Uganda. Kibuuka grew up with a single mother and his four siblings in Kampala. "Doing photography has made it possible for me to support my family, I am able to help my mother and pay my brothers school fees," he says. Kibuuka started doing photography through a youth program called Breakdance Project Uganda and he later started a visual arts program teaching photography and graffiti to kids. His slogan is "Just give a smile to the world." Kibuuka's trip to Addis Foto fest @addisfotofest was made possible by the Goethe Institute and the Moving Africa Program. " It's amazing for me to meet other photographers like Russell Fredrick @rfrederickphoto that documents culture in Brooklyn, and that inspires me with my own work because I am also documenting culture." Photo by @malinfezehai #uganda #ethiopia #addisphotofest #photographer
A photo posted by New Yorker Photo (@newyorkerphoto) on

As Adam readied for the L.A. premiere of "Shake the Dust," he was proud of the respectful story that the documentary tells.

"Because positivity isn't actually that hard to find when you look for it."
— Adam Sjöberg

My feelings exactly. Word. Up.

To see a free preview of the vibrant film "Shake the Dust," click the "watch trailer" tab below:

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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