The Hip-Hop Odyssey International Film Festival [H2O] was launched on November 13, 2002, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts by a group of filmmakers, educators, activists, and entrepreneurs. Exhibiting an array of narrative and documentary films from around the world, many with social justice themes, H2O was the largest festival of its kind. H2O promoted the use of Hip-Hop culture as a tool to teach media literacy and social awareness.
The Odyssey Awards is where H2O announced the winners of the festival and acknowledge the most groundbreaking Hip-Hop filmmakers, industry professionals and pioneers. This signature event features appearances and performances by Hip-Hop heavyweights like Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, MC Lyte, Kanye West, Roxanne Shante, and Ice T.
Alongside the annual festival, H2O has partnered with other Hip-Hop film and music festivals to curate award-winning selections in International film markets such as Cuba, Brazil, The Netherlands, and South Africa. After 5-years, H2A ceased producing the annual fest and scaled back its programming significantly.
In 2007, H2A teamed up with Third World Newsreel to launch, H2ONewsreel. This partnership offers hip-hop filmmakers the full-service of the Third World Newsreel organization that provides professional development training, access to media equipment and editing facilities, marketing and promotions, and distribution within the education market. H2ONewsreel is the only hip-hop education media distribution outlet catering to the education market.
H2O @ The Schomburg
In 2013, H2A donated the H2O collection and seminal films to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of the New York Public Library. The largest collection of its kind offers a myriad of hip-hop voices and stories that educators, students, researchers, scholars, teaching artists, and the community-at-large can use for educational purposes.