Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Symposium Highlights Hip Hop Culture’s Social Impact

More than simply a style of music and fashion, hip hop is a phenomenon with broad social and cultural impact, key aspects of which will be highlighted and examined in a symposium organized by the Department of Sociology in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University.

“Hip Hop Is Life” will bring together educators, cultural critics, artists, athletes, producers, students, and community leaders to discuss and demonstrate the ways hip hop affects specific communities and the culture at large. The two-day event, which includes a workshop, a panel discussion, and a performance, will be of interest to educators desiring to engage in culturally relevant pedagogies, students and artists looking for networking opportunities, and all those seeking to learn more about hip hop culture.

The symposium is free and open to the public and features the following events:Hip Hop Is Life
October 19-20, 2016 Hip Hop and Social Change Workshop
October 19, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Lawrence-Gregory Community Center
115 Dade St., Tallahassee Hip Hop and Health Panel
October 20, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Moore Athletics Center
University Center Building D, Room 1101
Florida State University Hip Hop Showcase and Marsten House Cypher
October 20, 8:30 p.m.
Garages at Gaines
603 W. Gaines St.

The Hip Hop and Social Change workshop is focused on ways hip hop can promote positive social change through education, bring awareness to social issues, and connect individuals from various backgrounds. Demonstrations of cultural elements and a writing exercise will be conducted by FSU graduate and artist Ricardo Ricketts; and representatives of the New York City-based radio show Heroes HQ. The workshop is directed by Professor of Sociology Lisa Weinberg, the driving force behind the symposium and instructor of the department’s popular Sociology of Hip Hop Culture course. Other participants will be announced closer to the day of the event.

The following day features a panel on Hip Hop and Health. Disparities in health are a major concern in the U.S., as disadvantaged populations are more likely to suffer adverse mental and physical health outcomes. The panel discusses ways in which hip hop can address these serious issues and promote better health practices and outcomes. Panelists in addition to Weinberg scheduled to appear at press time include Jay English, hip hop artist, yoga and meditations teacher, and FAMU instructor; Alan Rowan, faculty member and chair of the Master of Public Health program at FSU; Jennifer Taylor, director of FAMU’s Small Farms Program; educator, evangelist, and radio host Ehri Mathurin; Moeknowsbest, representative of the peer-to-peer artists network Cypher Circuit; and Steve Sxaks of Cypher Circuit and the recording studio Marsten House, a driving force behind the Philadelphia hip hop scene.

That evening, a performance at the Garages on Gaines will feature hip hop artists Carnage the Executioner, Ty Law, Revyved, 2 Bibles, Buster Wolf, Street Boi, and DJ A to the L. Following the showcase performances, there will be a cypher, a freestyle rap showcase of skills and techniques without the elements usually associated with rap “battles.”

“Our aim is to bring people together to explore the ways hip hop can bring awareness to systemic issues in health and other areas,” said Weinberg. “Artists can use their unique ability to communicate to promote positive living and discuss the psychological and physical benefits that come from practicing various elements of the culture.”

In addition to the Department of Sociology and College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University, the symposium is sponsored by Florida Entertainment Summit, Cypher Circuit, Marsten House, Heroes Headquarters, and the Garages on Gaines.

For more information, email hiphopislifefsu@gmail.com or call 850-644-6416.