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This Professor is His Own MAN

Since he arrived at Duke in 2004, after teaching at three other universities, fifty-year-old Neal has been challenging some foundational assumptions about higher education: whose history is worth studying; who should be called a student or a teacher; how much distance scholars must put between themselves and their subject matters; what type of language belongs both in essays and in the classroom.

To read the full article, visit Duke magazine online.

When a Race Man’s Color is Purple

princeIn the May issue of Ebony magazine, Mark Anthony Neal writes: “When an icon such as Prince Rogers Nelson transitions, he becomes a torch for both nostalgia and the power of music to unite, proving an artist could transcend race… The myth of his mixed-race identity even foregrounds his cinematic breakthrough with Purple Rain. But Prince’s choices were concessions to the prejudices of the marketplace, not the lived realities of race.

For full article, go to Ebony Magazine.

‘Bad/Dangerous/Invincible: Michael Jackson’s Epic Years’

From Off the Wall to Invincible, Michael Jackson’smj bad recordings on Epic Records chronicle the artist’s evolution to become one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Author and Duke University Professor of Black Popular Culture, Mark Anthony Neal, will take the audience behind the music for a look at Jackson’s resounding impact on music, culture and entertainment and his place in a longstanding tradition of Black performance.

The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 16. It is free and open to the public but registration is required. Register here.

Those unable to attend can join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtags #ApolloEd #ApolloLiveWire or #MJEpicYears.

Neal is the director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture, and Entrepreneurship at Duke where he has taught signature courses on hip hop, and Michael Jackson and the Black Performance Tradition.

Time Traveling With Hip-Hop

gzaFor a moment, imagine a little girl in the American South, watching her uncles — mid-20th century blues men, with harmonicas, guitars, bottles, standing in the round, telling their stories. And then suddenly a flash of the spirit, what Robert Farris Thompson, might describe as a rupture in the space, time, rhythm continuum, and that little girl is transported to the Bronx. It’s late 1977, and she stands over a box with levers, with circular devices on each side that remind her of the devices that played records in the houses her mama cleaned.

This little piece of time-traveling science fiction captures the genius of Hip-Hop culture, where young folk accessed the existing technologies at their disposal to create a world that sounded, looked like and felt like the world they wanted to live in–that allowed them to travel to the past and the future. In this conversation between the legendary GZA, a founding member of the Wu Tang Clan, and Professor Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of black popular culture at Duke, they will discuss the role of Hip-Hop in challenging our ideas of what science fiction is, and its connection to futures that Hip-Hop has always imagined.

For more information, and to attend, visit http://sched.moogfest.com/event/6mFa/time-traveling-with-hop-hop