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Professors, MC Lyte to lecture on hip-hop literacy at Ohio State

Courtesy of Andrew-Bryce Hudson

Professors from Duke University, Harvard University and female rapper MC Lyte will be traveling across the country to lecture to the same global beat at Ohio State.

The School of Teaching and Learning is scheduled to kick off its Second Annual Hip-hop Literacies Conference 9 a.m. Wednesday. It is scheduled to end Friday.

The conference, which will take place at the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Theater and other locations across campus, will explore what makes hip-hop powerful through scholars who aim to educate a younger generation.

On the final day, female rapper MC Lyte, whose real name is Lana Moorer, will perform in 131 Hitchcock Hall.

This year’s theme is globalization of black popular culture. The main focus, according to a press release, is targeting the “issues that affect the lives of youth such as education, racism, social identity, impoverishment and social inequality.”

One of the keynote speakers, Ronald Jackson, a professor of African-American studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said music can harness power.

“It’s about trying to help individuals understand the way in which music can be a very powerful vehicle for exploring culture, race and identity,” Jackson said.

He also said he plans to aim his presentation toward black males, emphasizing the areas of black masculinity and the way media teaches men to treat women.

“I think there are so many messages that we sometimes overlook,” Jackson said. “And we sometimes treat popular culture as some sort of entertainment vehicle as opposed to messages that ultimately assess how we treat women.”

Students will be allowed to participate in town hall sessions and workshops with scholars and performers.

Keynote lecturer Mark Anthony Neal, professor of black popular culture and African and African-American studies at Duke University, said hip-hop is culturally relevant.

“Hip-hop is an innovative and experimental art form, and the recent death of Beastie Boys’ MCA is a reminder,” Neal said in an email.

Neal said he hopes students will witness the way hip-hop has grown up and lives in the world.

Marcyliena Morgan, a professor of African and African-American studies at Harvard University, is expected to delve into the globalization of hip-hop in a keynote address.

“I am speaking about global hip-hop, in terms of the world and international influences … Also, the way hip-hop has appeared in various countries,” Morgan said.

Morgan said she wants to show how hip-hop can help people who are facing issues in other countries.

The most important thing Morgan said she wants to emphasize is that students should learn the importance of their contributions to the world.

“In the end, not only did hip-hop start off representing youth that had been ignored and abandoned, but hip-hop continues to do that,” Morgan said. “Generations that follow legacies can continue to contribute to the world as creatively, politically and socially aware as possible.”

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