The City College of New York’s Division of Interdisciplinary Studies will host the fifth annual “Is Hip-Hop History?” Conference Feb. 27 through Feb. 28, at the Center for Worker Education (CWE).
This year’s event pays homage to the iconic 1984 hip hop film “Beat Street,” which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The conference is also part of City College’s Black History Month festivities. Themed the “Return to Beat Street,” this year’s event is using the film for thoughtful reflection, in particular on the historical place of the female emcee.
“Thirty years ago, “Beat Street” made one of the first attempts to dramatize New York City hip hop culture,” said Warren Orange, an academic advisor in the division and conference co-founder. “Part of the movie was at filmed City College, which became one of the crossroads where academia was first introduced to hip hop. We thought it appropriate that “Beat Street” return to City College and a contemporary audience of scholars and hip hop enthusiasts.”
The conference will officially kick off with a screening of “Beat Street” at Aaron Davis Hall on City College’s main campus at W. 135th Street and Convent Avenue, 12 noon – 2 p.m. Thursday, February 27. Mr. Orange, who teaches a class on the History, Culture and Politics of Hip Hop, will host a Q&A session immediately following. The film screening is sponsored by Aaron Davis Hall and is free to students.
Then, the conference will head downtown to CWE, where MC Sha-Rock, the first female emcee and former member of the legendary rap group The Funky 4 +1 More, will deliver the keynote address. A reception will follow the keynote address, and a second screening of “Beat Street,” sponsored by the CWE Office of Student Affairs, will conclude the first day’s events.
On day two, Hip Hop USA, a collective of New York City Subway graffiti legends, street artists and fine urban artist, will produce “From Caves to Subway Cars,” an art exhibition and panel discussion.
To register for the event, visit at http://ishiphophistory5.eventbrite.com/.
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