Getting Real: The Future of Hip Hop Scholarship
Monday, September 14, 7pm, 1100 Grainger
MARK ANTHONY NEAL is Professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University. He is engaged in interdisciplinary scholarly work in the fields of African-American, Cultural, and Gender Studies that draws upon modes of inquiry informed by the fields of literary theory, urban sociology, social history, postmodern philosophy, Queer theory and most notably popular culture. His broad project is to interrogate popular culture–music, television, film, and literature–produced within the context of Afro-diasporic expressive cultures. Neal is the author of four books, What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture (1998), Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic (2002), Songs in the Keys of Black Life: A Rhythm and Blues Nation (2003) and New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity (2005). Neal is also the co-editor (with Murray Forman) of That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (2004). A frequent commentator for National Public Radio’s News and Notes with Farai Chideya Neal also contributes to several on-line media outlets, including NewsOne.com. Neal’s blog “Critical Noir” appears at Vibe Magazine.
JEFF CHANG has written extensively on culture, politics, the arts, and music. He is a 2008 USA Ford Fellow in Literature and a winner of the 2008 North Star News Prize. His first book, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, garnered many honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. He was a founding editor of ColorLines magazine, and a Senior Editor/Director at Russell Simmons’ 360hiphop.com. He has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Vibe, The Nation, and Mother Jones, among others. In 1993, he co-founded and ran the influential hip-hop indie label, SoleSides, now Quannum Projects, helping launch the careers of DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker. He has helped produce over a dozen records, including the “godfathers of gangsta rap”, the Watts Prophets. After being politicized by the anti-apartheid and anti-racist movements at the University of California at Berkeley, Jeff worked as a community, labor and student organizer, and as a lobbyist for the students of the California State University system. He received a bachelor’s degree from Cal and a master’s degree in Asian American Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles and has published scholarly articles on culture and race relations in Hawai’i and Los Angeles. He has lectured at dozens of colleges, universities, festivals, and institutions in the U.S. and around the world. He was an organizer of the inaugural National Hip-Hop Political Convention and has served as a board member for several organizations working for change through youth and community organizing, media justice, culture, the arts, and hip-hop activism.