Renowned Sierra Leonean female hip-hop artist, Linda Samai, widely known as Star Zee, is currently in the United States as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) exchange, running from April 15 to April 26, 2024.

During her visit, Star Zee took to Facebook to share her experiences, highlighting her meeting at the office of the United States Department of State and her interaction with Rocky Bucano, the CEO of the hip-hop museum. In her post, she emphasized the significance of hip-hop culture and the IVLP initiative.

Star Zee’s participation in the IVLP exchange aligns with the U.S. Department of State’s Global Music Diplomacy Initiative, which aims to leverage music to foster peace and cross-cultural connections worldwide. The initiative brings together participants from 22 countries to explore the role of hip-hop in promoting positive social change and economic growth.

During the program, participants engage in various activities across Washington, DC; New York, NY; and Raleigh and Chapel Hill, NC. They delve into topics such as archiving hip-hop history, empowering youth through music and visual arts, and the impact of hip-hop diplomacy.

In Washington, DC, Star Zee and other participants had the opportunity to learn about U.S. society and culture, attend panel discussions, and engage with representatives from National Geographic and local arts organizations. They explored the influence of hip-hop culture in empowering marginalized voices and fostering community among young people.

The program continues in New York, where participants will delve deeper into preserving hip-hop history and exploring diverse voices in arts programming. Finally, in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, they will explore hip-hop in academia and its role in diplomacy.

Star Zee’s involvement in the IVLP exchange underscores the importance of cultural exchange and music diplomacy in promoting peace and democracy globally. This initiative, launched by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, aims to expand access to education, economic opportunities, and societal inclusion, aligning with broader U.S. foreign policy goals.