Projects & Events
Joshua Asen Marvelyn Brown Ian Condry Brian Cross (B+)
DeAnna Dodd Cummings Roger Cummings Chuck D Davey D Floorlords
Dawn Elissa Fischer Murray Forman Rennie Harris Scott Heath
Zine Magubane Giuseppe Pipitone Popmaster Fabel Deborah Wafer Remi Warner
March 10 -13, 2009
Hiphop Worldwide: More Than A Nation
End It Now! The Africa/US AIDS Mural Project (AMP)
Joshua Asen went to Brown University, where he studied music and French. After college, Josh worked as an international liaison in Paris for Roc-a-Fella records. In 2004, Josh received a Fulbright grant to study the effects of American Hip Hop on Moroccan youth culture. He linked up with Jennifer Needleman, a fellow Brown film student at the time, and the idea for “I Love Hip Hop in Morocco” blossomed. "I Love Hip Hop In Morocco" gives an in-depth look at the melding of American hip hop culture and Moroccan youth. The film documents the Moroccan youth's views on America, Islam and world politics, as told through music. Since the film, Asen has returned to his native Brooklyn to teach English as a Second Language in a largely Arabic-speaking neighborhood, in which capacity he invented a learning device called “ESL TV.”
Marvelyn Brown, a 24-year-old native Tennessean, was diagnosed with HIV at age 19. Since then she has moved both live and television audiences around the United States with her compelling personal story. Brown has spoken at over 50 colleges and universities nationwide and currently has an HIV-focused blog on poz.com and a lifestyle blog on staying-alive.org. She is the CEO and an Independent HIV Consultant for Marvelous Connections. Her humanitarian work earned her a 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding National Public Service Announcement. Brown took part in MTV’s 48 Fest at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto where she directed and produced a short film about HIV, called “Different Strokes.” In 2005 she spoke on the White House lawn at the Student AIDS March and in the summer of 2006 for the Washington Mystics on Youth AIDS Day. She sat down with the writers, producers, and directors of Viacom, FOX, CBS, and the Caribbean Broadcast to discuss fun and innovative ways of integrating HIV awareness and sex education into the media. The BET and the Rap-It-Up campaign named her one of the 25 Heroes in the Fight, by speaking out about her experience and showing her face as a young woman living positively with HIV. In addition to these accomplishments, the National Association of People With AIDS presented Marvelyn with the Tarsha Durhant Positive Youth Leadership Award and just recently she received the Courage Under Fire Award from Choice USA, and was featured in the ambitious woman section of savvymiss.com. Brown has had extensive radio and television experience that include The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN's Documentary Black In America, MTV, BET, The CBS Early Show, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, The Tyra Banks Show and more. In addition, she has apeared in Newsweek, U.S. News and Report, Fortune 500, Ebony, Black Beat, Essence, and she appeared on the covers of A&U, POZ and the AVE. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Brown’s autobiography, The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and (HIV) Positive, is published by Amistad/HarperCollins in 2008.
Ian Condry – Associate Professor (Japanese Studies, MIT)
Ian Condry is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in contemporary Japan, with a focus on media, popular culture and globalization. His first book Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization was published in October 2006 from Duke University Press. It is an ethnography of the Japanese rap music scene, exploring issues of race, gender, language, popular music history and cultural politics primarily through the perspectives of Japanese musicians. Through fieldwork starting 1995-97, Ian focused on the "genba" (nightclubs, or "actual site") of Japan's hip-hop scene. Ian argues that the paths of cultural globalization lead through specific sites of performance, such as nightclubs and recording studios. Such locations help to more deeply understand the dialogue between global/local, producer/consumer, artist/industry. Since January 2006, Ian has been organizing the research project Cool Japan: Media, Culture, Technology at MIT and Harvard. The project involves colloquia and international conferences to examine the cultural connections, dangerous distortions and critical potential of popular culture. This project is sponsored by MIT Japan Program, Harvard's Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, the Harvard Asia Center, MIT Foreign Languages and Literatures, and MIT Comparative Media Studies.
B+ (aka Brian Cross) was born and raised in Limerick, Ireland. He attended the National College of Art and Design in Dublin graduating in 1989 with a degree in painting. In 1990 he came to Los Angeles to study photography at the California Institute of the Arts. While at Cal Arts he began work on a project entitled, “Its Not about a Salary: Rap Race and Resistance in Los Angeles” which was subsequently published by Verso Books in 1993. It was nominated as a Rolling Stone Music Book of the Year and made the NME critics best music book of the year list. Since the publication of the book B+ has continued to work in the LA hiphop community. His first album cover work was for the Freestyle Fellowship (Inner City Griots). Since then he has done an estimated one hundred more for artists from Mos Def, Cappadonna, Q-Tip, Eazy E, Los Super Seven, Long Beach Dub All-Stars, Ozomatli, Jurrassic 5, Dilated Peoples, DJ Shadow, Company Flow, Blackalicious, Money Mark, David Axelrod, South Central Cartel, Warren G, Yusef Lateef, Madlib, J Dilla, Build an Ark, Cut Chemist, Damian Marley and Yesterdays New Quintet. He was the photo-editor of Larry Flint’s ill-fated and highly influential Rappages from 1993 to 1997. He has directed several music videos for hip hop artists worldwide, including DJ Shadow (United States), Nitro Microphone Underground (from Japan) and Control Machete (from Mexico). His latest ventures put old school drummers together with new school DJs. These interactive and community-based artistic projects are documented in the films Keepintime: Talking Drums and Whispering Vinyl, Brasilintime: Batucada com Discos and The Timeless Concert Series. The DVDs of these projects were released by Mochilla, Cross’s production company with partner Eric Coleman. B+ still lives in LA, answers his own phone, photo edits for Wax Poetics Magazine, still digs like crazy and DJs from time to time and is currently working on a book of photographs.
DeAnna Cummings is the executive director of Juxtaposition Arts, a fourteen year old, youth-centered, visual arts organization located in a low-income, predominately people of color neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Juxtaposition offers year-round visual art and design workshops for youth, art exhibitions for community patrons, creative entrepreneurship mentoring for young people, and arts-based opportunities for traditionally unengaged residents and stakeholders to participate in community planning and development. As one of the organization’s co-founders, DeAnna has guided the growth of Juxtaposition from serving 15 youth in 1995, to more than 3,000 young people, 30 adult emerging artists, and 50 collaborative partners in 2007 and has raised $1.8 million in operating and capital funding over the organization’s lifetime.
As a child of the hip hop generation, DeAnna is the visual art exhibition curator and one of six women who co-founded B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip Hop. Created in 2004, B-Girl Be is housed at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is a semi-annual visual art show, performance showcase, lecture and workshop series that engages an international audience of more than 4,000 people each year. B-Girl Be founders saw the need to tell the stories of women's contributions to hip-hop. In today's pop culture, women in hip-hop are too often spotlighted for their appearance rather than their skills and messages. When women have space to explore, create and perform, a diverse resource of female role models and mentors is unearthed for the next hip-hop generation of both girls and boys. Hip Hop icons Rokafella, Pam the Funkstress, Medusa, DJ Kuttin Kandi, Lady Pink and Martha Cooper are some of the legends who have been featured artists, mentors, and supporters of B-Girl Be.
Last year, DeAnna received an Archibald A. Bush Leadership Fellowship to support her family’s move to Cambridge, MA while she and her husband Roger Cummings both pursue graduate studies at Harvard University. As a current student, at the Kennedy School of Government, DeAnna’s focus is on the potential for arts and culture to be a catalyst for positive social, political and economic change for people in high poverty urban neighborhoods at both grassroots and policy levels. Following her one-year educational sabbatical DeAnna plans to return to her work empowered with new ways to engage with traditionally disconnected entities in comprehensive and creative community building.
Roger Cummings is a founding principal of Juxtaposition Arts, a non profit visual art and cultural center that mentors and works with youth and community members from inner city Minneapolis. Together they explore new ways to create relationships between space and place through art, design, independent livelihood and collective social enterprise. From an initial program located in a Minneapolis public housing project, today Juxtaposition’s work contributes to improved livability in one of the cities poorest neighborhoods. In 2007, Juxtaposition was contracted by the City of Minneapolis to develop a 20-year public art master plan for the West Broadway area, where the organization is located. Currently, Roger is working with business leaders to enact cross disciplinary artistic interventions that will animate 100 vacant windows encompassing 30 unoccupied storefronts on downtown Minneapolis’ main thoroughfare. Roger’s artistic direction is informed by aerosol Hip Hop culture and social justice. He has worked individually and collectively to design and install dozens of works of large scale public and functional art over the span of his twenty-year career. Roger creates public and private murals, customized textiles, as well as carved stone, metal, and mixed medium relief sculpture. Roger has lectured and conducted workshops at major institutions in Minnesota including Macalester College, the University of Minnesota, the Walker Art Center and the Weisman Museum. Roger is also a 2008-2009 Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. As a Loeb Fellow, Roger will explore new ways of reenergizing neglected urban neighborhoods through artistic interventions, people-centric design, and creative models of cooperative housing and business development.
As leader and co-founder of legendary rap group Public Enemy (PE), Chuck D redefined rap music and hip hop culture with the release of PE's explosive debut album, “Yo Bum Rush The Show,” in 1987. His messages addressed weighty issues about race, rage and inequality with a jolting combination of intelligence and eloquence never seen before. Chuck D and Public Enemy were celebrated in the May 2004 issue of Rolling Stone magazine as one of the "fifty most important performers in rock & roll history." His influence upon hip hop has been and continues to be enormous. Chuck D is also a national spokesperson for Rock the Vote, the National Urban League, and the National Alliance for African American Athletes. He has appeared in numerous public service announcements for national peace and the Partnership for a Drug Free America. He is featured in the critically-acclaimed documentary, Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome, a retrospective of the group and its indelible impact on American music. As he continues to work on commentary, music, and writing on diversity, rap, and reality, it is clear that there are few who have transcended music and have made an impact as loud as hip hop personality extraordinaire Chuck D.
Davey D is a Hip Hop historian, journalist, deejay, community activist and adjunct professor in African Studies Professor at San Francisco State University. He is originally from the Bronx. He started out as an emcee for two crews: TDK [Total Def Krew] out of Co-op City and the Avengers out of the Marble Hill Section of the Bronx. Later, Davey D went out to California to study at UC Berkeley, where he started deejaying in the Bay Area. His mobile deejay work and community activism eventually led him to deejaying at radio stations like KALX, KPFA and later KMEL. Davey D is a proud member of The PROs Record Pool where he served as director for several years in the late 1980s -early 1990s. He is also a co-founder of the Bay Area Hip Hop Coalition [BAHHC] and a member of the Bay Area Black Journalist Association [BABJA]. Currently he's the webmaster for what is considered one of the oldest and largest Hip Hop sites on the internet, Davey D's Hip Hop Corner, which can be found at www.daveyd.com. The writings on his website are frequently referenced and quoted by journalists, scholars, professors and fans from all around the world. He writes for numerous publications and magazines and puts out a popular Internet newsletter, the FNV Newsletter, which has a subscriber base of 100 thousand people. His newsletter is also frequently referenced and quoted. In 2002, Davey D launched another newsletter called HHPN [Hip Hop Political Newsletter]. He's been featured in documentaries, magazines, newspapers,videos and TV news shows like; Rap City Rhapsody, CNN's Talk Back Live, ABC's Nightline, Australia's Lateline, BBC Radio, Internet Cafe, Computer Chronicles, BET Television, VH1 Television, Soul Beat TV, KRON TV, KTVU TV, Bay TV, KPIX TV, KBHK TV, The Tavis Smiley Show, The Laura Flounders Show, E-40's Charlie Hustle the Blueprint of a Self-Made Millionaire, 2Pac'sThug Angel documentary, Straight From The Streets documentary, Jahi's Redefinition documentary, Impact Magazine, Radio Facts Magazine, Rollingstone Magazine, Washington Post, The NY Times, The NY Post, Oakland Tribune, USA Today, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian Magazine [London], The Vallejo Times Herald, The SF Bay Guardian, Vibe Magazine, Stress Magazine, Redeye Magazine, and Harvard’s own The Source Magazine, to name a few. Most recently he was featured on the cover story of Urbanview Newspaper in Oakland. He was also profiled in the January 2003 edition of The Source Magazine as being one of the Top 10 most Influential people in the country when it comes to dealing with Hip Hop and politics. Davey D has been a featured speaker at high schools, universities and community centers throughout the country. He speaks on topics ranging from Hip Hop to Politics to bridging the Digital Divide.
In 1981, a crew of young men came together to form a dance group called "The Floorlords," which consisted of (16) sixteen original members. The rest is history, but the future remains to be written. This group of young men played a significant role in the new "Culture of Hip Hop" movement for more than two consecutive decades. Contributing wholeheartedly by helping to define, and then expanding upon "The art of Breakdancing". The group has been instrumental in bringing the five elements of the culture to millions of fans and followers through television, films, stage and the streets. Some notable screen appearances include films "Krush Groove" and "Southie" as well as television programs "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" and The "Donohue" Show. At present, not all of the original members are involved, but the remaining Floorlords still continue to perform and pass on their teachings to all who seek their knowledge. The Floorlords have won numerous local and international competitions. They have also danced in exhibitions ranging from nightclubs to various community events, all while they "edutain" many through their self-produced stage play "Floorlore, The History of Hip Hop". The Floorlords have shared the stage with artist such as Eric B & Rakim, Madonna, Jlo, Fat Joe, Maxwell, Slick Rick, Dougie Fresh, Dj Qbert, The Xecutioners, Talib Kweli, Wu Tang, Nice & Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Busta Rhymes, Run Dmc, P Diddy, Beastie Boys, Kool Herc, Big Pun, Missy Eliot to name a few.
Dawn-Elissa Fischer (a.k.a. the “D.E.F.” Professor) is 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.Fischer has worked on a number of different community-based campaigns using Hip Hop 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 Hip Hop social movement organizations internationally in Japan, South Africa, Tanzania, Senegal, Sweden, China, Norway, Cuba, Jamaica and Russia. Fischer 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.She is dedicated to research and practice that serves community interests and secures social justice. Fischer is the executive director of Edutainment4Life, an organization dedicated to life skills and self- help of underserved children and families. She serves on the advisory board of HOTGIRLS -- Helping Our Teen Girls In Real Life Situations, an organization dedicated to health and HIV/AIDS education for Black girls directed by Dr. Carla Stokes. Fischer is a cofounder of the National Hip Hop Political Convention, a Hip Hop civic engagement project. She is a founding staff member of the Hip Hop Archive at Harvard University, and she co-produced the Hip Hop Archive’s first film, “Nihon Style” with filmmaker Bianca White. Dr. Fischer currently serves as the Hip Hop Archive’s Associate Director of Research and Development, and she is working with talented community educators, artists and pioneer scholars developing the Hip Hop University Project.
Murray Forman’s main research interests are in the social uses of popular music and the critical analysis of media industries, cultural production, and communication. His work also engages with issues of media and representation in contemporary society, with particular emphasis on images and discourses pertaining to race and ethnicity and issues of youth, elders, and age in society. He is the author of "The 'Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop" (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) and Co-editor, with Mark Anthony Neal, of "'That's the Joint!': The Hip-Hop Studies Reader" (Routledge, 2004), as well as authoring numerous articles on youth, race, popular music, television, and film. He is currently completing a book length project titled "One Night on TV is Worth Weeks at the Paramount: Music on Television Before Elvis" (forthcoming, Duke University Press) for which he received a 2003-2004 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Dr. Forman serves on the Advisory Board of the Archives of African American Music and Culture (Indiana University) as well as serving on editorial advisory boards of several scholarly journals, including "”Critical Studies in Media Communication,” “The Journal of Popular Music Studies," “Music, Sound, and the Moving Image, “Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, and “Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies”.
Lorenzo (Rennie) Harris was born and raised in an African- American community in North Philadelphia. Since the age of 15, Harris has been teaching workshops and classes at universities around the country and is a powerful spokesperson for the significance of “street” origins in any dance style. In 1992 Harris founded Rennie Harris Puremovement, a hip-hop dance company dedicated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop culture Harris founded his company based on the belief that hip-hop is the most important original expression of a new generation. With its roots in the inner-city, hip-hop can be characterized as a contemporary indigenous form, one that expresses universal themes that extend beyond racial, religious, and economic boundaries, and one that (because of its pan-racial and transnational popularity) can help bridge these divisions. Harris’ work encompasses the diverse and rich African-American traditions of the past, while simultaneously presenting the voice of a new generation through its ever-evolving interpretations of dance. Harris is committed to providing audiences with a sincere view of the essence and spirit of hip-hop rather than the commercially exploited stereotypes portrayed by the media.
At the turn of he century Harris was voted one of the most influential people in the last one hundred years of Philadelphia history and has been compared to twentieth-century dance legend Alvin Ailey and Bob Fosse. Awarded 3 Bessie Awards, 2 Alvin Ailey Black Choreographers Award an Ethnic Dance Award and recently awarded the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts for choreography and was nominated for an Lawrence Olivier Award (UK). In 2007, Harris garnered a number of coveted opportunities. Harris was named Artist of the Year by Pennsylvania’s Governor Edward Rendell and received one of 50 prestigious United States Artists Fellowships. He was honored to receive one of Philadelphia’s ten “Rocky Awards” for our “absolutely heroic” efforts of producing (3) back-to-back opening nights at the Kimmel Center for our 15th Anniversary retrospective in June 2007. In addition he received a Harman Theater Shakespeare award in 2008 for his infamous work Rome & Jewels. His group of dancers and their infectious brand of movement have toured around the globe. At 45, Lorenzo "Rennie" Harris is atop the hip-hop heap - its leading ambassador.
Scott Heath is a professor in the Department of English at Georgetown University.
Heath was a hip hop kid through and through. He was only five when "Rapper's Delight" was released. "It was my parents' record, and they still have it. I was home (in North Carolina) recently digging through some old records, and I found a relatively pristine copy," he says. For Heath, living hip-hop culture meant listening to Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick and Dana Dane and, with the help of an older cousin, recording live DJ shows off the radio — "back in the days when they'd say, ‘All the Leos say, HO!' ‘All the folks wearing Jordache say, HO!'" He and his friends dabbled in all the elements of hip-hop. they tried to "scratch"; taught themselves to break-dance, or b-boy, as it came to be called; and "sometimes we'd pick up a can of spray paint (to make graffiti art)." They might have been living in North Carolina, but "we were performing hip-hop as we understood it," Heath says. His work addresses topics in African American literature, black public culture, and speculative race theory. His current book projects include Head Theory: Hip Hop Discourse and Black Public Culture and Virtual Is the New Black: Technologies of Race and Contemporaneity.
Zine Magubane received her BA from Princeton in Political Science and PhD from Harvard in Sociology. She has taught at the University of Cape Town, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and is currently an Associate Professor of Sociology and African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College. She is the author of the article “Globalization And Gangster Rap: Hip Hop In The Post Apartheid City” And The Books: “Bringing the Empire Home: Race, Class, and Gender in Britain and Colonial South Africa” (Chicago 2004), “Hear Our Voices: Black South African Women in the Academy” (UNISA 2005) and “Postmodernism, Postcoloniality, and African Studies” (Africa World Press, 2005).
Giusseppe Pipitone is Webmaster and creator of Italy’s The Hiphop Reader, a website exploring Black Power, hiphop, art and resistance in Italy. He is a social activist and author of It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop and Renegades of Funk. Pipitone is also the author of "Hip-Hop from the Italian Diaspora." He is on the advisory board of the Black Soil International Hip-Hop Film Festival based in Rotterdam/Amsterdam, and is creator and manager of the digital magazine Hiphopreader.it
JORGE "FABEL" PABON was born and raised in Spanish Harlem, NYC where, at an early age, he developed his dance and choreography career at Hip Hop jams and clubs throughout the city. His pioneering individuality has been showcased internationally since 1982. President of the Hierophysics crew, Senior Vice President of the Rock Steady Crew, member of Magnificent Force, and an honorary member of the Electric Boogaloos, Fabel is also co-founder of GhettOriginal Productions, Inc. With GhettOriginal, Fabel co-authored, co-directed, and co-choreographed the first two Hip Hop musicals ever, "So! What Happens Now?" and "Jam on the Groove" (first official Off-Broadway Hip Hop musical).
Fabel was the first Hip Hop dance instructor to be employed at N.Y.U.'s Experimental Dance Theater Wing. In 2001, he addressed delegates at the United Nation's "Hip Hop Conference for Peace." Fabel regularly teaches dance in various schools for the Sports and Arts in School's Foundation. Fabel has also been commissioned to teach dance workshops at such institutions as The Dalton School and Central Park East One, among the many. He is currently working on three documentaries: "Apache Line", "Fabel's History of Hip Hop Fashion Vol. 1" and "Puerto Ricans in Hip Hop." Fabel is a historian of and activist within Hip Hop culture. His other forms of expression include "graffiti" art, DJ'ing and rhyming. Fabel is a co-founder of Tools Of War, a grass roots Hip Hop company covering publicity, events coordination and promotions, activism, bookings, and consultation.
Deborah Wafer, RNP, PA, is the Marketing Manager for U.S. HIV Marketing for Gilead Sciences, Inc. She is responsible for the development and management of community programs for people living with HIV and their support systems. Prior to coming to Gilead she was with Pfizer Inc. on the US HIV Marketing team, where she was a Global Health Fellow in Uganda. Deborah Wafer lived and worked in Mbale, Uganda for three months on a social marketing campaign with American Jewish World Service to reduce stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and train members of the community on providing care. Her first job in the Pharmaceutical industry was as a Community Relations Associate Manager for the Western Region, responsible for implementing community-based programs within the Pacific West and Northwest region, including treatment advocacy training for peers, community and corrections. Deborah was the Community Liaison Collaborator for the Los Angeles HIV Epidemiology HIVNET Program. She was also a Nurse Practitioner at the UCLA Clinical AIDS Education and Research Center (CARE). Deborah was a faculty member of the UCLA Medical School and a Board Member of the UCLA AIDS Institute. She is a native of Compton and a member of the California Physician’s Assistant Association, Los Angeles Pediatric AIDS Nurses Network, Association of Nurses in AIDS Care and the Los Angeles Black Nurses Association.
Remi Warner has a PhD in social anthropology and teaches at York University in Canada. His research explores the politics and poetics of race and place, and the impact of the globalization of Black popular culture on youth identity, cultural politics and racial formation in post-apartheid Cape Town and Johannesburg. He has also published on hip hop in Canada. His doctoral dissertation, entitled “‘Battles over Borders’: Hiphop and the politics and poetics of race and place in the New South Africa,” explores the various ways in which South African youth create and negotiate identities and social positions within the “new” South Africa through the adoption and translation of globally circulating hiphop musical forms. He currently works as a researcher with the provincial government while also teaching the undergraduate course, Race, Racism and Popular Culture, in York's Department of Anthropology.