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Scholars and Personnel

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Marcyliena Morgan

Executive Director


Dr.  Marcyliena Morgan

Professor Marcyliena Morgan's Bio




Alvin Benjamin Carter III

Associate Director of Programs


Face.jpgAlvin coordinates projects and events for the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute and works closely with staff and participants at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute and the Hutchins Center at Harvard University.

His undying commitment to Hiphop is evident on academic, entrepreneurial, and social levels. He graduated from Northeastern University with a B.S. in Music Industry. During his time there he hosted a morning radio show, started two businesses, and sat on an event planning board that booked concerts with major artists such as Method Man, Busta Rhymes, and Ludacris. Now at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute, Alvin is ready to take his commitment to Hiphop to the next level.

Chhay Chhun

Website Consultant


Chhay.jpgAfter a 5-year stint in the corporate world, Chhay has refocused his energies to completing a collection of poetry, trading a paycheck for a purpose. He is a DJ/b-boy, was raised in the Bronx, and currently resides in South Harlem. He is also founder of Custom Insites, LLC, a Web Design & Development Company.



Daylan Dufelmeier


Daylan.jpgDaylan is a researcher for the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute, focusing on the Katrina project. He is an aspiring academic with a day job that keeps him in Chicago.
Daylan was born and raised in Australia with roots in Chicago. After moving to the USA he attended and graduated from Florida A&M University with a degree in Philosophy & Religion. Since college Daylan has worked in varying capacities as an organizer, educator, researcher and at times all three. He is committed to the fight.

Dawn-Elissa Fischer


Dawn 2.jpgDawn-Elissa Fischer (a.k.a. the "D.E.F." Professor) is one of the Associate Directors assisting Professor Morgan at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute. The DEF Prof currently works with the Hiphop University, Youth Education, Gender and Sexuality as well as Japanese Hiphop projects at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at San Francisco State University, where she teaches courses on black popular culture, digital research design and visual ethnography. DEF has worked on a number of different community-based campaigns using Hiphop to address issues of voter disenfranchisement, gender based violence, literacy and the digital divide. For over 15 years, she has been traveling within and outside of the United States, committing herself to academic and political work. She has studied and worked with Hiphop social movement organizations internationally in Japan, South Africa, Tanzania, Senegal, Sweden, China, Norway, Cuba, Jamaica and Russia. She has received various awards and grants for her research, including support from the Japan Foundation, the Mellon Mays Fellowship Program and the Social Science Research Council. DEF is currently working on a manuscript concerning Hiphop, race and blackness in Japan.

Kyle Kilat

Website Designer and Consultant


Kyle.jpgBorn and raised in The Bay, Kyle hooked up with The Archive after graduating from Stanford in 2006. Since then, he has worked as a part-time designer and consultant for The Archive's web projects and properties. For his "day job," he works as an Interaction Designer at Intuit, Inc. (a software company in the Silicon Valley). On the side, he also does work as graphic/web designer for additional businesses and organizations, and runs a custom sneaker and clothing business: Lost Soles Customs.


Sumeeya T. Chishty Mujahid

Counseling Consultant


Sumeeya Bio_0.jpg"Afro centric South-Asian Half-Woman Half-Amazin" (profound apologies to Nas). Born and bred in Karachi, Pakistan, Sumeeya graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Hampshire College, Massachusetts and a Master's degree in Education from Harvard University. She obtained an Education Specialist degree in Community Counseling from The George Washington University. She has self-published a bi-lingual children's storybook, Nari & Uso, that deals with bridging divides between different cultures and people. A mental-health therapist by profession, Sumeeya's interest in hip-hop concerns two main areas: health and hip-hop and Islamic references in hip-hop.  As a therapist Sumeeya's research interest in the role of childhood abuse in our families and its transmission of violence and poor health within our selves, our communities and our world. Sumeeya can be found across the pond for 2010-2011, in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Jessica Norwood

The Architect of Political Power


JNorwood.jpgFueled by a belief in the power of the community Jessica began organizing at when she was only eight years old. First, distributing literature to her neighbors on local candidates and organizing neighborhood trash pick-ups to becoming one of the nations most sought after experts on the diversity of youth organizing within politics. After receiving her degree from Northern Illinois University in Political Science, she went on to work with elected officials and community activist in Indiana, Georgia, Louisiana, South Dakota, New York and Washington, DC. Ms. Norwood has gained the most well rounded approach to political organizing as she has served as a campaign manager and field director for federal campaigns as well as deputy director of fundraising and managing director for national youth organizations with budgets that exceed a million dollars annually. Damn, this woman is talented!

Nicole Hodges Persley


Nicole 2.jpgNicole Hodges Persley is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Kansas. She completed her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity at The University of Southern California in 2009. Her dissertation, "Sampling Blackness: Performing African Americanness in Hip-hop Theater and Performance" is the first study to examine the impact of African American racial and cultural identity on the artistic practices of non-African American artists in theater, conceptual art and dance. Her research and teaching interests include: African American Theater and Performance; Hip-hop Studies; African Diaspora Theater; Solo Performance; Popular Culture; Performance Studies, and Improvisation Theory. Hodges Persley currently teaches courses in Acting, Hip-hop in Popular Culture and African American Theater. She has received numerous fellowships and awards including a James Irvine Foundation Fellowship and an undergraduate teaching and mentoring award from the Mellon Foundation. As an actress and director, Hodges Persley has professional credits in theatre, film and television. Her current book project is an comparative study on the performance practices of Hip-hop Theater and Performance artists in the United States, England and France. 

Josef Sorett


Josef.jpgJosef Sorett is an interdisciplinary historian of religion in America, with a particular focus on black communities and cultures in the United States. His research and teaching interests include American religious history, African American religions, hip hop and popular culture, religion in/and the arts, and the role of religion in public life.  Currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion and the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University, Josef earned his Ph.D. in African American Studies from Harvard University, and he holds a B.S. from Oral Roberts University and an M.Div. from Boston University. In support of his research, Josef has received fellowships from the Louisville Institute for the Study of American Religion, The Fund for Theological Education, Harvard’s Charles Warren Center for American History and Princeton University’s Center for African American Studies. He has published essays and reviews in Culture and Religion, Callaloo, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and PNEUMA: Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. He is currently at work on a book project that explores the significance of religion and spirituality in debates regarding racial aesthetics.  You can learn more about Josef at his website: http://www.josefsorett.com/ 

Harold Shawn


Harold_0.jpgFollowing his freshman year of high school in 2004 Harold joined the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute street team, researching artists as part of an already growing database. Five years later Harold is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music industry at Northeastern University with a minor in journalism. In addition to his journalistic work, he spends much of his
time at the music studio, composing for a wide range of artists. His music can be found on the web under his production name of Levelsoundz.

Bethy Dereje

 Research Assistant


bethy dereje photo Bethy began working at the Hip Hop Archive in February 2011. She is an a History concentrator at Harvard College. Having been raised in an immigrant family learning the weight and importance of language, she has an incredible love for words--a love that has incited a powerful appreciation for poetry and music. In the future, she hopes to contribute to research on the role of hip hop on the world stage and, more specifically, it's significance and transformative nature in urban development.

 Terrance Moore

Research Assistant


Terrance_Bio_photoAfter a year working closely with the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute personnel, Terrance joined the team as a research assistant in September 2013. A joint concentrator in African American Studies and Sociology, Terrance is interested in the intersection of popular culture, faith, and identity. He was raised in Shreveport, Louisiana and finished high school in Atlanta, Georgia where his musical taste was vastly influenced by the sounds and culture of Southern hiphop. Upon graduation, he intends to explore faith-based social enterprises that engage society through the entertainment industry.

 Schuyler Polk

Reseach Assistant



Schuyler Bio PhotoSchuyler Polk began working at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute in January 2011. She is a History and Literature concentrator in the America Field at Harvard College, Class of 2014. She was born in Brooklyn, NY and currently lives in Englewood, NJ. Her interests include African American studies, Italian language studies, visual arts, fashion, education, and music. Her father introduced her to Hiphop during car rides to daycare. At the Archive, she hopes to research the influence of hip hop and consumerism.


Victoria Wenger

Research Assistant


vweg.jpgTori began working at the Hip Hop Archive in October of 2011. As an undergraduate in the class of 2014 at Harvard College she is studying African American Studies and Government. She is particularly interested in the interplay of hip hop, politics, and culture throughout American history and in contemporary society. In the future she hopes to contribute research to the role of hip hop in affecting social change and engaging in cultural and political discourse.


Christian Ramirez

Research Assistant


Christian Ramirez Christian began working at the Hip Hop Archive in September 2013. He is a Harvard College undergraduate in the class of 2015 concentrating in the Classics. His interests include Latin, Greek, and Portuguese language studies, African American studies, music, and media entertainment. His love for hip hop developed from having been born and raised in Queens, NY. He is particularly interested in the presentation of hip hop in broadcast news and the ways in which the genre shapes our  attitudes towards luxury, sexuality, and the "American Dream."  

ImeIme Umana

Research Assistant


imeime.pngImeIme began working at the Hip Hop Archive in October 2011. She is a Harvard College undergraduate in the class of 2014 studying Government and African American Studies. Her academic interests include American government, healthcare policy and social inequalities. She is particularly interested in how hip hop and politics inform one another. ImeIme hopes to contribute to research on how hip hop artists impact political activism, more specifically its role in electing (and perhaps re-electing) the United States’ first black President.   

Nafisa Eltahir

Research Assistant


150781_10151737744585204_771327713_n_2.jpgNafisa began working at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute in October 2012.  She is from Cambridge, MA via Lexintgon, MA and Khartoum, Sudan.  She has loved hiphop ever since she can remember.  She is planning on concentrating in Sociology, with a secondary field in Economics, at Harvard College, class of 2015. She is particularly interested in hiphop in North Africa and its role in the Arab Spring, as well as the political and social effects of hiphop in America. 


Lindiwe Rennert

Research Assistant


lindiwe.jpgLindiwe began working at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute in September 2013.  A Washington DC native, she is concentrating in Economics with a secondary in Visual and Environmental Studies. More specifically, her academic interests include urban planning and design as well as developmental architecture. Her love of hip hop is closely tied to her inetrest in art as a mode of social mobility for marginalized demographics. Lindiwe hopes to conduct research on hip hop and feminism through this lens of social mobility as well as better understand how hip hop navigates non-marginalized (majority, privileged, etc.) groups within North American society. 



Abi Polinsky

Research Assistant


Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 1.22.44 PM.pngAbi began working at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute in 2009-2010, his sophomore year of high school. Raisedin San Diego, he is concentrating in Social Pyschology with a secondary in Visual and Environmental Studies. Abi has been extremely interested in all music from a very young age, and his love for hip hop started in middle school. Abi hopes to do some work on the psychology and socio-psychological elements of the hiphop culture. Abi is a member of the class of 2016 and is a member of the Harvard heavyweight rowing team.


Brandon Jarrett

Research Assistant



Brandon began working at the Hip Hop Archive in September 2013. Born and raised in New Jersey, he is concentrating in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology with a secondary in African American Studies at Harvard College, Class of 2015. His passion for music stems from an affinity to the 80-90's Hip Hop and Neo Soul genre. Upon graduation, Brandon intends to continue his pursuits in music production and artist management. At the Archive, he hopes to research potential mediums between Hip Hop culture and the biological sciences.



Imani Radney

Research Assistant


Imani began working at the Hip Hop Archive in October 2013. Born and raised in Staten Island, NY, she is a senior concentrating in African American Studies with a secondary in Spanish. Her interests include dance, black community building in digital spaces, media studies and the impacts of popular culture on identity. Imani is particularly interested in hip hop's ability to showcase the diversity of black experience and its utility as a space for thinking through or reflecting on black identity. 

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