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Hip-Hop, #BlackLivesMatter and the Politics of Blackness


On Wednesday evening, March 30, longtime activist, journalist and author Bakari Kitwana spoke with Professor Mark Anthony Neal about the role of hip-hop in the era of #BlackLivesMatter as well as its continued impact on mainstream understanding of blackness. Kitwana is the executive director of Rap Sessions, Kitwana flieran organization that hosts a series of community dialogues. It is currently touring the country on the theme, “Election 2016: Reform or Revolution?”

Kitwana has served as the executive editor of The Source, editorial director at Third World Press, and co-founded the first National Hip-Hop Political Convention. He has authored several books, including the forthcoming, Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era.

Kitwana is one of several guest speakers Neal has invited for History of Hip-Hop 6.0, a spring 2016 undergraduate course that he co-teaches with Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder. The class, open to the public, meets on Wednesday evenings at 6:15 p.m. in White Lecture Hall on Duke’s East Campus.

The talk was co-sponsored by the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship, the Department of African American Studies and the weekly webcast, Left of Black.