“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words
and cannot remain silent.”
~ Victor Hugo
The words of Hugo are demonstrative of the infectious influence of Hip Hop culture in America and throughout the world. Key elements of Hip Hop that move beyond music have sparked a shift in the way we think, communicate, examine historical milestones, develop identity, shape public policy, behave as consumers, and construct social institutions. Thus, Hip Hop becomes conversant with the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary foundations of academia and articulates the need for critical pedagogy and scholarship that interrogates the lived experiences of underrepresented and marginalized communities worldwide. As a result, Hip Hop pedagogy embraces Sankofic approaches -- drawing from the past to move forward with integrity into the future. As such, the ‘us vs. them’ narrative holds credibility as uniquely authentic because the story articulates how power, perceived or real, is elusive to those at the bottom of socio-political, economic and geographical hierarchy. As a result, a redeeming quality of Hip Hop culture is the transculturalist identity that highlights systemic and institutionalized oppression.
The Sankofa Lecture Series serves as a medium to examine how contemporary practitioners of Hip Hop, domestic and abroad, continue this legacy.
Dr. Winston Grady-Willis Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham
Historian and Professor Curator
School of Gender, Race and Nations Sankofa Lecture Series
Portland State University
Previous Sankofa Lecture Series speakers and performers include: