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Hip-hop Conference April 19-23

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Contact:
Dr. Kelton Edmonds
724-938-5788
Edmonds_k@calu.edu

April 13, 2010

Full schedule and speakers' biographies follow

Rap star KRS-ONE will share his views on "Media, Film, Scholarship and the Global Impact of Hip-hop" during Cal U's fifth annual Hip-hop Conference.

The weeklong event, April 19-23, features panel discussions, a student debate and the annual "4 Elements of Hip-Hop Tribute" at Jozart Studios in California Borough.

KRS-ONE, also known as Krist Parker, is a rapper and emcee who has won 16 gold and platinum records for albums such as By All Means Necessary, Criminal Minded, Edutainment and Ghetto Music: The Blueprint Of Hip-Hop.

He will join hip-hop pioneer and community activist Paradise Gray, award-winning journalist Jeff Chang and filmmaker Maori Karmael Holmes for the keynote panel presentation at 6 p.m. April 23 in Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre.

The conference also includes a talk by Brian Willis, founder of Wealth Builder Enterprises and author of I'm Drowning in Debt, which offers advice for improving credit scores and staying debt-free. He will discuss "Bling-Bling: Financial Swagger vs. Conspicuous Consumption in the Hip-hop Generation" at 11 a.m. April 20 in Duda Hall, Room 103.

The "4 Elements of Hip-hop Tribute" begins at 5 p.m. April 22 at Jozart Studios, 333 Second St., California. It will feature a performance by Invincible, a Detroit-based hip-hop artist and activist, as well as graffiti art and a freestyle battle by Cal U students. New this year is a breakdancing performance by "Dr. Edmonds' B-Boys."

Admission is free. All conference events are open to the public.

The conference is sponsored by the Student Activities Board, the Black Student Union, the Frederick Douglass Institute, the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Social Equity, the History Club, the Women's Studies program, and the deans of the colleges of Liberal Arts, Education and Human Services, and the Eberly College of Science and Technology.

 

Hip-hop Conference 2010

California University of Pennsylvania

Media, Film, Scholarship and the Global Impact of Hip-hop Schedule / Speakers

 

April 19

6-7 p.m., Vulcan Theatre, inside the Natali Student Center First viewing, award-winning PBS documentary New Muslim Cool, starring Puerto Rican-American Muslim hip-hop performer Hamza Pérez.

 

April 20

11 a.m., Duda Hall, Room 103

Presentation, "Bling-Bling: Financial Swagger vs. Conspicuous Consumption in the Hip-hop Generation," by Brian Willis, financial planner and author of I'm Drowning in Debt.

 

April 21

6 p.m., Eberly Hall, Room 225

Panel presentation, "The Alchemy of Hip-hop Aesthetics, Television and Pedagogy: Classroom Implementation of ‘The Boondocks' and ‘Chapelle's Show' to Explore Racial Discourse," with moderator Dr. Harrison Pinckney and panelists Dr. Derrick McKisick, Dr. William Boone, Brett Wilkinson and Cliff Coates.

 

April 22

11 a.m., Duda Hall, Room 103

Student debate, "Is Hip-hop Dying?," Cal U vs. Tidewater Community College, with students Aquene Zechneider, Robert Martin, Ronald Taylor Jr. and Seth O'Brien.

 

2 p.m., Duda Hall, Room 211

Presentation, "MLK vs. Jay-Z:  Rhetorical Thoughts, Strategies, & Rhythms of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Hip-hop Music," by the Rev. Earle J. Fisher, instructor of religion at Lemoyne-Owen College.

 

5 p.m., Jozart Studios, 333 Second St., California

4 Elements of Hip-hop Tribute

  • Hip-hop performance, featuring Invincible, a Detroit-based hip-hop artist and activist.
  • Panel, "Life on the Underground," with moderator Brett Wilkinson and panelists Invincible, Vic Stith, Cliff Coates and Gene Stoval.
  • The art of hip-hop DJing, by DJ Aura.
  • Breakdancing performances, starring "Dr. Edmonds' B-Boys."
  • Freestyle battle, by Cal U students.
  • Graffiti art presentation, by Cal U art students.

 

 

April 23

1 p.m., Residence Hall D, multipurpose room Presentation, "Young, Gifted and Black: The Hip-hop Generation and Academic Success," by Dr. David Canton, associate professor of history at Connecticut College.

 

2-3 p.m., Vulcan Theater

Viewing, New Muslim Cool, featuring Hamza Pérez.

 

3-4 p.m., Vulcan Theater

Discussion with Hamza Pérez, with moderators Dr. Derrick McKisick and Jennifer Dawson.

 

6 p.m., Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre

Keynote panel, "Media, Film, Scholarship and the Global Impact of Hip-hop," with rapper KRS-ONE (a.k.a. Krist Parker), hip-hop pioneer and community activist Claude "Paradise" Gray, journalist Jeff Chang, and filmmaker Maori Karmael Holmes.

 

CONFERENCE SPEAKERS

KRS-ONE (a.k.a. Krist Parker), has won 16 gold and platinum recording awards for albums such as By All Means Necessary, Criminal Minded, Edutainment and Ghetto Music: The Blueprint Of Hip-Hop. Once a homeless teen, he has become one of the most sampled artists of the decade.

In addition to rapping, KRS-ONE (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone) is an author, emcee and music producer. He lectures regularly at college campuses nationwide, speaking about industry politics, respect, and the linguistics of hip-hop.

 

Claude "Paradise" Gray has been a photographer, writer, producer, promoter, artist and community activist. In the mid- to late '80s he managed entertainment for New York City's legendary Latin Quarter nightclub, an incubator where numerous artists identified with hip-hop's "golden era" honed their skills. In 1987-1988 Gray co-founded the BlackWatch Movement, which spawned groups such as X-Clan that changed the message of hip-hop to one of black pride. In 2007 and 2008 Gray organized and co-hosted hip-hop awards programs in Pittsburgh, central Pennsylvania and Philadelphia.

In addition to his hip-hop pursuits, Gray is the executive director of One HOOD, a community organization in Pittsburgh. One HOOD received the 2007 Peace Partner of the Year Award from the Center for Victims of Violence and Crime/Pittsburgh Mediation Center, and the 2008 Nation Builder Aware from the Community Empowerment Association.

 

Jeff Chang is a journalist and author who views hip-hop in the context of American political and social history. His first book, the bestseller Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, won The American Book Award and is now taught in universities around the country.  As editor of Total Chaos, his second book, he highlights the influence of hip-hop on other artistic mediums.

Chang grew up in Honolulu, received a master's degree in Asian American Studies from UCLA, and was an organizer for the National Hip-Hop Political Convention. He was named a 2008 USA Ford Fellow in Literature by United States Artists, a prestigious advocacy program that illuminates the value of artists to society.

 

Maori Karmael Holmes has produced narrative films, documentaries and music videos about underground hip-hop and contemporary pop art. Among her most notable projects are "Funky Feeling," a music video that aired on BET-Jazz and VH1-Soul, and "Scene Not Heard," a documentary about women in hip-hop. Her films have been screened at festivals, museums and universities around the world.

Holmes has written for has written for Alternet.org, Savoy magazine, Trace, Philadelphia Style, Philadelphia City Paper, Philadelphia Weekly and Blackamericaweb.com. A former adjunct professor at Villanova University, she holds a bachelor's degree in history from American University and an MFA from Temple University's graduate program in Film and Media Arts.

 

Brian Willis is the founder and CEO of Wealth Builder Enterprises Inc., a comprehensive real estate and financial services firm dedicated to partnering with clients to help improve their overall financial future. Willis' experience in wealth management, credit counseling and real estate led him to write Help! I'm Drowning in Debt, a guide to improving credit scores and becoming debt-free.

President-elect of 100 Black Men of Charlotte, N.C., he is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

 

Hamza Pérez, the child of Puerto Rican parents, spent his early years involved in drugs and the street life. At age 21 he changed direction, converted to Islam and became active in forming a community of Latino and African American Muslims. With his son, and later his daughter, the group moved from Massachusetts to Pittsburgh to build a community that would reconcile their heritage with their new faith. Perez and his brother, Suliman, formed the rap group Mujahideen Team (M-Team), which strives to use knowledge gained in the streets to put Islam's religious message into a familiar context.

 

David A. Canton is an associate professor of history and director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Connecticut College. He received his B.A. in history from Morehouse College, his M.A. in Black Studies from The Ohio State University, and his Ph.D. in history from Temple University. His research interests are 20th-century African American history, civil rights, urban history and hip-hop. Canton is the author of the forthcoming book Raymond Pace Alexander: A New Negro Lawyer Fights for Civil Rights in Philadelphia.

 

Rev. Earle J. Fisher is a pastor, preacher, writer and social activist, as well as an adjunct instructor of religion at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tenn. He also is the lead minister of the All Peoples House of Worship, an intergenerational, interracial and interfaith ministerial effort that promotes and participates in positive social change. Fisher holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from LeMoyne-Owen and a Master of Divinity degree from Memphis Theological Seminary. He was ordained by the Christian Church Disciples of Christ denomination in 2008 and plans to enter the doctoral program in rhetoric and communication at the University of Memphis this fall.

 

Invincible is a Detroit-based hip-hop artist who began penning lyrics at age 9, after moving to the Midwest from the Middle East and learning English by memorizing her favorite songs. A solo artist and part of the all-female hip-hop collective Anomolies, she started her own label and released her critically acclaimed debut album, ShapeShifters, in 2008.

Her lyrics are deeply rooted in social justice work, reflected in a writing process that often involves community feedback, and interviews with community members.

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The fifth annual Hip-hop Conference at California University is sponsored by the Student Activities Board, the Black Student Union, the Frederick Douglass Institute, the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Social Equity, the History Club, the Women's Studies program, and the deans of the colleges of Liberal Arts, Education and Human Services, and the Eberly College of Science and Technology.