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Press Release

The Hiphop Archive at Stanford University Hosts: Know-the-Ledge: Hiphop Scholarship Meets Hiphop Media Roundtable

Shaking em up, waking em up
Raking em up, breaking em up…
Standing on shaky grounds too close to the edge
Let’s see if I know the ledge
(Eric B and Rakim)

On March 4, 2006 The Hiphop Archive at Stanford University hosted an invited conference: Know-The-Ledge: Hiphop Scholarship Meet Hiphop Media. Over sixty of Hiphop’s most influential scholars, educators, journalists, and artists whose work focuses on some aspect of hiphop art and culture met to discuss the relationship and conflicts between academic and journalistic reporting, writing and representation of Hiphop. Moderators and participants included: Cathy Cohen (Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago), Elvis Mitchell (film and media critic, biographer), Nelson George (journalist, novelist), Joan Morgan (writer, journalist), Mark Anthony Neal (journalist, writer, Associate Professor, Duke University,), Bakari Kitwana (journalist, non-fiction writer), J. Phillip Thompson political organizer, author and Associate Professor at MIT, hiphop artists KRS One, Stic (Dead Prez), Ladybug Mecca,Boots (The Coup) and more (see attached).

The purpose of Know-the-Ledge was to:

  • Raise public awareness of the value of Hiphop music and culture to youth development in the U.S. and throughout the world
  • Consider how scholars and media represent, research and report on youth art, politics, and culture in the US and throughout the world.
  • Discuss and chronicle the development of hiphop journalism and research and its affect on media and scholarship in general.
  • Identify the audience(s) for hiphop media and academic writing.
  • Develop mechanisms to set values and standards of hiphop scholarship and journalism
  • Compile and distribute data from selected topics of 30 years of Hiphop scholarship and media
  • Improve the quality and performance of those that incorporate Hiphop in education and youth empowerment
  • Discuss mechanism to influence public opinion through media and academic editorializing.
  • Identify significant issues and topics in hiphop art, culture and politics.

The Hiphop Archive

The Hiphop Archive at Stanford University is one of the world’s first university archives devoted to Hiphop music, culture, art and scholarship in January 2002. The Hiphop Archive organizes and develops collections and acquires material culture associated with Hiphop in the U.S. and throughout the world. Under the direction of Professor Marcyliena Morgan, it consists of materials from artists, producers, representatives and other collaborators who have made a significant contribution to the development of Hiphop music.

The Hiphop Archive curates all forms of Hiphop material culture including recordings, videos, web sites, films, original papers, works, references, productions, conferences, meetings, interviews, publications, research, formal proceedings, etc. While the Archive is a record of Hiphop activity locally, nationally and internationally, it also incorporates all of the activities that have developed within and in response to Hiphop. These include academic courses, arts and community organizations, religious programs and much more.

The Hiphop Archive recognizes that over the past thirty years Hiphop has grown into the most influential form of American culture for youth nationally and internationally. While many are aware of the frequent documentaries on Hiphop in the music media, information on the phenomenon is constantly sought by national and international scholars, educators, artists and those representing social and political organizations. The Hiphop Archive’s mission is to facilitate and encourage the pursuit of knowledge, art, culture and responsible leadership through Hiphop.

The Hiphop Archive intends to ensure that the information, materials and activities surrounding Hiphop become a permanent part of the music, art and social history of America and the world.


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