ANTI-DO-TO, the Milan-based activist post-streetwear brand, presented its second social project since its inception in 2020 after funding Ha’ramba, the first skatepark on the Gaza Strip dedicated in toto to Gazawi youth.
In this second venture into the social sphere, ANTI-DO-TO reminds us of the incredible power of music as a tool for expression, redemption and reintegration.
In the coastal city of Douala, Cameroon, lies the chaotic, suffocating and overcrowded New Bell prison, one of the harshest and most difficult in the entire country.
More akin to a refugee camp in New Bell live, in conditions at the limits of humanity, 3000 inmates all crammed into a space designed for only 800 people.
Of these 3,000 detainees, 70 percent have been incarcerated for years without trial or conviction because Cameroonian law does not provide for limits on pre-trial detention.
Voiceless, cast aside by society and left to their own devices, inmates struggle to reintegrate because of stigma, and right in the midst of all these difficulties Jail Time Records was born.
Jail Time Records is the collective that runs the record and audio-visual production label composed of prisoners and former prisoners, founded in 2018 in Douala Central Prison by artist and filmmaker Dione Roach.
From being a recording studio for inmates , the first ever set up in an African prison, the project expanded its horizons by going outside the prison and soon became an aggregator of talent and artists.
After learning about the project in 2021, ANTI-DO-TO decided to support the project by fully funding the construction of a new recording studio in the Deido neighborhood of Douala, and thus, this time, outside the prison.
Starting in mid-May and for the next six months, purchasing any item will participate in the project by refinancing it through 50 percent of the net profits from the sale.
The project aims first and foremost to reintegrate formerly incarcerated rappers, producers and artists within the community, to give them a chance to cultivate their talents and to keep themselves away from what brought them to prison.
“Thanks to ANTI-DO-TO, we were able to realize the dream of creating a recording studio outside of prison, and this for the artists of Jail Time Records definitely represents a real breakthrough. Music has changed their lives in prison, but once they get out it is necessary to be able to keep them focused. It is the most critical time. Having a place to get together, continuing to record for free, comforted and supported by those who know their reality well, means giving them a new life”, these are the words of Dione Roach, founder of Jail Time Records.
A capsule collection dedicated to the project was also created under the artistic direction of designer Federico Curradi. The graphics were created by the inmates themselves thanks to a workshop organized in prison by Dione herself, where art has become a fundamental tool for escape and freedom of expression.
In support of the project ANTI-DO-TO has made a short film in which the true essence of what is being accomplished comes out and the incredible and disruptive power of music as a pivot around which to build something good and useful for the community.
Below you can take a look at the trailer for the short film while you can see the entire short film on ANTI-DO-TO’s website.