Time Out says
Both Anderson and this film pin the rapid rise of AfroReggae – now as much a social movement and a local education project as a music group – to one particular event that took place in Vigário Geral in August 1993: the murder of four policemen by drug dealers, which in turn prompted the police to enter the favela and ‘massacre’ 21 inhabitants. The ‘Grupo AfroReggae’ began to publish a radical local newspaper, AfroReggae News, and the lyrics of its band – now signed to Universal Music – dealt directly with the community’s history and problems. ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Anderson asks one local kid. ‘An outlaw,’ the boy replies. ‘Favela Rising’ credits art with changing lives (it cites a dramatic drop in drug crime in Vigário Geral), but doesn’t lose sight of its limitations either.