Rap Sessions Presents: The Art of Resistance 

Public Programs

Image courtesy of Rap Sessions.

Rap Sessions Presents:
The Art of Resistance

An Inter-Generational Dialogue between the Civil Rights & Hip-Hop Generations

Mon, Mar 4, 2013 7 PM

How can we empower a new generation to advance a political agenda around issues that affect daily lives? What kind of new institutions can speak to the challenges facing young Americans in this post-election, post-recession moment?

At his visit to the Wexner Center last October, Harry Belafonte issued a powerful call for intergenerational dialogue as a way to confront today’s challenges. The Art of Resistance brings together acclaimed contemporary artists in dialogue with artist/activists of the black arts and civil rights movements, pioneers of hip-hop culture, and members of the next generation. Together, we’ll examine past alliances between art and social movements, with an eye on defining what political art and artful politics look like in today’s changing and polarized America. This town hall–style discussion explores the major civil rights issues of our time and encourages us all to find ways to work for the changes we believe in.

A book signing will follow the dialogue.

Our distinguished panelists are Sonia Sanchez, Jorge “Popmaster” Fabel Pabon, Chinaka Hodge, Joe Schloss, Angela Woodson, and Bakari Kitwana. See below for more information on the panelists.

Sonia Sanchez is a renowned writer, poet, playwright and activist. An influential force in African American literary and political culture for over three decades, she was also in the forefront of the Black Studies movement and taught the first course in the country on black women. Sanchez is the author of over 18 books including Homecoming, We a BaddDDD People, I've Been a Woman, and Shake Loose My Skin. She was the winner of the 1995 American Book Award in Poetry for Homegirls and Handgrenades. Sanchez has also been the recipient of numerous other honors including a National Endowment for the Arts Award, the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the Lucretia Mott Award, the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Humanities, and the Peace and Freedom Award from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Sanchez has traveled extensively, reading her poetry around the world. She was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University where she began teaching in 1977 and held the Laura Carnell Chair in English there until her retirement in 1999.

Jorge “Popmaster” Fabel Pabon is a renowned hip-hop dancer, choreographer and historian. The Senior Vice President of the Rock Steady Crew, he’s also co-founder of Tools of War, a hip-hop PR and consulting firm. Born and raised in Spanish Harlem, NYC, at an early age he developed his dance and choreography career at hip-hop jams and clubs throughout the city. Beyond dance, Pabon has also advanced hip-hop culture through his impact in film, theatre, aerosol art, DJ’ing and digital arts. Additionally, he helped created and choreographed the first two hip-hop musicals ever, So! What Happens Now? and Jam on the Groove. In 1984, Pabon gained world renown as a featured dancer in the cult classic movie, Beat Street. In 1999, he served as a consultant for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s exhibit and conference: "The Hip Hop Nation: Roots, Rhyme and Rage." His essays have appeared in notable hip-hop books like Joe Conzo's Born in the Bronx, Martha Cooper's Hip Hop Files, and Jeff Chang’s Total Chaos. He has taught hip-hop dance at the New School in NYC and at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

Chinaka Hodge is a poet, playwright, and the author of For Girls With Hips: Collected Writings and Poems, and the play Mirrors in Every Corner. Currently Artist in Residence at The Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, CA, she was the Assistant Director of Suzan Lori Parks’ 365 Plays, 365 Days, at its San Francisco debut in November 2006, and co-wrote Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s Scourge, which opened in San Francisco a year earlier. In 2007, she served as a member of the U.S. Artist Delegation to the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. Hodge was the inaugural recipient of Intersection’s Changemaker Award. She’s also been the recipient of the University of South California’s Annenberg Fellowship and the San Francisco Foundation’s Jackson, Phelan and Tennenbaum Literary Award. Her writings have been featured in Teen People, Newsweek, The San Francisco Chronicle, Scholastic Magazine, Current Magazine, The Annual Women of Color Film Festival, PBS, NPR, CNN, C-Span, and on HBO’s Def Poetry. Hodge is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and received an M.F.A. in Writing for Film and TV at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Joe Schloss is the author of Foundation: B-boys, B-girls and Hip-hop Culture in New York (Oxford University Press, 2009), and Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop (Wesleyan University Press, 2004), which won the 2005 Book Award from the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. His writing has appeared in URB, Vibe, The Seattle Weekly, The Flavor, and the anthologies Classic Material and Total Chaos. Schloss is adjunct assistant professor of Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College of the City University of New York.

Angela Woodson is the CEO of Gelic Group and the former Director of Outreach for the Ohio Governor’s Office of Faith-based Initiatives. Over the years, she has worked on numerous campaigns for national, state, and local elections, including her roles as a field coordinator for the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign, regional coordinator for the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign, field director for Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, and campaign manager for the Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle for U.S. Senate. Additionally, Woodson is the co-founder of B.U.I.L.D. (Blacks United In Local Democracy), a political action committee designed to help embrace young people who wish to run for political office. In 2004, she co-chaired the National Hip-Hop Political Convention, which brought together over 4000 young activists to create and implement a national political agenda for the hip-hop generation.

Bakari Kitwana (moderator) is a journalist, activist and political analyst whose commentary on politics and youth culture have been heard on CNN, Fox News (The O’Reilly Factor), CSPAN, PBS (The Tavis Smiley Show), and NPR. He is CEO of Rap Sessions and Senior Media Fellow at the Harvard Law-based think tank, The Jamestown Project. His 2002 book The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture has been taught at over 100 colleges and universities. The former Executive Editor of The Source and the former Editorial Director of Third World Press, Kitwana has taught in the political science department at the University of Chicago and was co-founder of the 2004 National Hip-Hop Political Convention. Currently a visiting scholar at Columbia College’s Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era is his forthcoming book.