Cal Poly Humboldt release:

The 11th Annual Cal Poly Humboldt Hip Hop Conference: Power to the People will feature a keynote address from Chuck D, and three days of presentations, performances, food, and celebrations of hip-hop culture from April 23-25.

“To talk about hip hop is to talk about lived experiences of African Americans in particular and other oppressed people,” says Dr. Ramona Bell, chair of the Department of Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

Dr. Bell started the Hip Hop Conference in 2013, one year after teaching a course called “Hip Hop and the Black Experience.” CRGS is an interdisciplinary field, Dr. Bell says, which brings together ethnic studies, history, sociology, psychology, life and social sciences, literature, and other fields of study. She adds that, “A hip hop course is a great opportunity for interdisciplinary study and hands-on learning.”
“Students get excited when they realize they can study hip hop culture and rap music in a university classroom,” Bell says. “People who love the music and the culture want to talk about it.”

This year’s Hip Hop Conference features a keynote address from Chuck D, leader and co-founder of legendary group Public Enemy and part of the supergroup Prophets of Rage, social activist, author, film producer, and digital music pioneer, on Tuesday, April 23, from 5-7 p.m in the Van Duzer Theatre.

“Public Enemy and Chuck D have been and are one of my favorite groups,” says Jeff Crane, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. “It was from their lyrics that I developed an interest in and began learning more about critical issues in American history related to the Black experience and began studying people like W.E.B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, and the Black Panthers.”

Community members, faculty, staff, and students are also encouraged to submit presentation proposals. On April 24, students in the Hip Hop and the Black Experience class will present scholarly research on hip hop culture. On April 25, regional musical artists will perform followed by a consciousness hip hop concert. The last day will feature elements of hip hop culture: DJ Chuck Angeles, Emcee NacOne, and b-boy/b-girl dance. All events are free.

CRGS also offers a one-unit Hip Hop Organizing course and Hip Hop Conference Attendance courses, which give students the opportunity to help plan and develop the conference. Students organize the events, create publicity, promote the event, and carry out the days’ activities.