2019-2020: Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow
An internationally known cultural critic, journalist, activist, and thought leader in the area of hip-hop, youth culture, and Black political engagement, Bakari Kitwana is the Executive Director of Rap Sessions, which for the last fourteen years has conducted over 100 townhall meetings on difficult dialogues facing the hip-hop and millennial generations. The former Editor-in-Chief of The Source magazine, he is the co-founder of the first ever National Hip-Hop Political Convention, which brought over 4000 18-29 year-olds to Newark, NJ in 2004 to create and endorse a political agenda for the hip-hop generation. A former senior media fellow at the Harvard Law-based think tank, The Jamestown Project and the 2007-2008 Artist-in-Residence at the Center for the Study of Race Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, Kitwana is the author of Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop and the forthcoming Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era. His groundbreaking 2002 book The Hip-Hop Generation popularized the expression “the hip-hop generation” and has been adopted as a coursebook in classrooms at over 100 college and universities. Kitwana served on the organizing committee for the 2013 Black Youth Project convening that launched the millennial Black activist group BYP100. In 2015, he edited an essay series for Mic.com on race and policing, “Shifting Perceptions: Being Black in America.” He holds Master’s degrees in English and Education from the University of Rochester.
The Hip-Hop and Presidential Elections Video Archive
My proposed project is to curate a searchable, digitized video collection focused on the intersection of hip-hop and politics. This archive will document hip-hop generation and millennial generation- specific perceptions, insights and views on gender, race, art, media literacy and activism as they relate to electoral politics and youth civic engagement. The video archive will consist primarily of video recordings of hip-hop artists and thought leaders who participated in up to thirty interactive townhall discussions convened by Rap Sessions: Community Dialogues on Hip-Hop during the 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential election years.