More Than Rhythm: A Black Music Series Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop
Thursday, March 14 | Galleries and reception at 6:00 p.m. | Conversation at 7:00 p.m.
Join the CMA and affinity group Friends of African American Art & Culture for a panel discussion and reception celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. This discussion focuses on the significant role hip-hop has played in Black culture and the cultural impact it has made throughout the world, including its meteoric rise to become the single most popular genre. Led by series host and ethnomusicologist Dr. Birgitta Johnson, the panel includes Jabari Evans, assistant professor of race and media at the University of South Carolina and award-winning songwriter, as well as Toby Jenkins, USC associate provost for faculty development & professor of higher ed. and author of The Hip-Hop Mindset.
Arrive early to enjoy a reception hosted by FAAAC, and stick around after the discussion for a chance to purchase a signed copy of The Hip-Hop Mindset. Cash bar. Free. Registration preferred. Presented by the Baker and Baker Foundation. Generous support provided by Art Bridges Foundation’s Access for All program.
Jabari Evans' research focuses on the subcultures that urban youth and young adults of color develop and inhabit to understand their social environments and to identity development and pursue their professional aspirations. He generally explores strategies these youth use for self-expression on social media platforms as well as other digital media tools and technologies. His forthcoming book project, Hip-Hop Civics (University of Michigan Press), centers on a hip-hop based education program in Chicago public schools and argues for rap song-making’s utility for fostering connected learning in the formal classroom.
Evans’ research has been recognized for awards by the International Communication Association, published in the Journal of Global Hip Hop Studies, Journal for Media Literacy Education, and International Journal of Communication and has been covered by the Chicago Reader, Chicago Tribune, Rolling Out Magazine, Ebony Magazine, and Chicago Crain’s Business.
A national expert in creator culture, Evans is a faculty affiliate for Microsoft Research’s Social Media Collective, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, and the blackBox Lab at Harvard Business School. As a media scholar, Evans has expertise in hip-hop pedagogy. Hip-hop pedagogy refers to the applications of a teaching style and classroom strategies that enhance both the “critical-ness” and “cultural relevance” of schooling with a social justice perspective. Within this method, an ethos towards ingenuity is used to make students and teachers feel empowered by the schooling process in three distinct ways: social consciousness, the use of nontraditional texts in the classroom (e.g., songs, podcasts, social media threads, YouTube videos, etc.), and to have students to critique and question (“deconstruct”) the veracity of dominant texts.
Prior to joining the University of South Carolina, Evans has enjoyed a decorated career as a hip-hop songwriter and producer performing under the moniker of "Naledge" in the rap group Kidz in the Hall. In 2014, he founded his nonprofit organization (The Brainiac Project Inc.) to leverage the combination of social media and a burgeoning local hip-hop scene as a means for violence prevention in Chicago’s South Side communities.
Toby Jenkins is an associate professor of higher education and director of the Museum of Education. She also serves as interim associate dean of diversity, equity & inclusion in the Graduate School. Her work focuses on the use of culture as a politic of social survival, a tool of social change, and a transformational space within educational settings. She is considered a national expert on cultural inclusion and belonging in higher education.
Jenkins has authored five books focused on the evolving ideologies of culture, family, and education in contemporary society. My Culture, My Color, My Self: Heritage, Resilience and Community in the Lives of Young Adults was named by the Association of American University Press to the list of “Top 100 Books for Understanding Race Relations in the US." Family, Community, & Higher Education is an edited volume that explores the critical role of family and community in the lives of first-generation college students. The Open Mic Night: Campus Programs that Champion College Student Voice was awarded a special recognition as the 2018 “Outstanding Edited Collection in Curriculum Studies” at the American Education Research Association’s (AERA) Annual Meeting.
Before becoming a professor, Jenkins spent 10 years working as an administrator in diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. She has worked at the University of Maryland, Penn State University, George Mason University, the University of Hawaii, and Georgia Southern University. Jenkins’ past professional experience as a student affairs staff member with Semester at Sea as well as her individual research projects and studies have taken her to over 30 countries including Greece, Spain, Norway, Italy, Morocco, Egypt, Russia, Belgium, Turkey, South Africa, Senegal, England, France, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Trinidad.
More Than Rhythm series host Birgitta J. Johnson, Ph.D., is a jointly appointed associate professor of ethnomusicology in the School of Music and African American Studies Program at the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include music in African American churches, musical change and identity in Black popular music, and community archiving. She has published articles in the Black Music Research Journal, Ethnomusicology Forum, Liturgy, Oxford Bibliographies in African American Studies, and the Grove Dictionary of American Music.
Dr. Johnson’s more recent publications include a chapter about 21st-century gospel archiving in The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation, a chapter about gospel remixes of Beyoncé songs in Beyoncé in the World: Making Meaning with Queen Bey in Troubled Times, and sacred themes in the music of Outkast in An OutKast Reader: Essays on Race, Gender, and the Postmodern South. She has been quoted or featured in media and news outlets such as Rolling Stone Magazine, NPR, Vox, Public Radio International, and South Carolina ETV.
A multi-instrumentalist and singer, Dr. Johnson has performed professionally and/or recorded with artists and ensembles from a variety of genres including the Southeast Symphony Orchestra of Metropolitan Los Angeles, the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Francisco Aguabella’s AfroCuban Folkloric Group, and the ESPY Awards with Justin Timberlake, The O’Jays, Yolanda Adams, Talib Kweli, and BeBe Winans. At USC she teaches courses on world music, hip-hop, the blues, African music, Black sacred music, Beyoncé, and the history of ethnomusicology.