Allen University Hosts Inaugural Hip Hop Studies Conference

Hip-Hop All-stars Collage
Photo credit: Hip-Hop All-stars Collage
by Tomas Sychra (zpecter)

Allen University will be hosting its inaugural Hip Hop Studies Conference on Friday, April 17, 2015. The conference will feature panel discussions; keynote addresses by Chris “Play” Martin, Preach Jacobs, and Ricky Simone; a musical performance by the Allen University Jazz Ensemble entitled “The Songs Behind the Samples”; and an open mic session for hip-hop/spoken word performance.

The conference will be held at the Mattie Scott Conference Center located at 2300 Taylor Street, Columbia, SC 29204.

Register for the Free conference at Eventbrite.

Featured Speakers and Performers

As half of the iconic hip-hop duo Kid ‘N Play, Chris “Play” Martin is a pioneering figure in hip hop. In addition to his well-known film roles and music career, Christopher is an award-winning documentarian, and founder of the multimedia production company Playground Solutionz. He has recently served as a professional in residence at Florida A&M University in the Music Industry & Hip Hop Institute. He previously served in this role at Miles College, North Carolina Central University, and Healthy Start Academy Charter School. He has been an invited speaker at major universities from across the country, including Duke University, Stanford University, Florida State University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Illinois, and Western New England University. In 2013, Christopher was named among the Grio’s “top 10 African Americans in technology” and acknowledged by the news organization for being a champion for education in the community. Christopher is a recipient of the 2007 New York International Film Festival Award for “best full-length feature documentary” for his production work on Welcome to Durham. He has also received Grammy and Stellar Award nominations for his production contributions to Taking the Gospel to the Streets, Volumes 1, 2, and 3 and the successful release of Holy Hip Hop the Movie. He’s completing three additional documentaries titled: Can Hip Hop Go To School?, … AND iDANCE, and The Marching 100.

Preach Jacobs is an emcee and journalist from Columbia, SC as well as the founder of indie label Sounds Familiar Records and Cola-Con, the nation’s only hip-hop comic convention. He is a regular contributor to The Free Times, Columbia’s free weekly newspaper; the organizer for First Thursday, a monthly arts event for the city; and a candidate for a seat on the City Council in this year’s election. Preach will be speaking, performing, and premiering some of his recent film projects, including a new music video and clips from a documentary focusing on his current political campaign.

Ricky Simone, “The Hip Hop Activist,” is an emcee and human rights activist from Athens, GA. She is a recent recipient of the President’s Fulfilling the Dream Award at the University of Georgia. She has been nominated for two Athens Hip Hop awards, and she has performed or presented at Creating Change, Atlanta Pride, Athens Pride Artist Showcase, North Carolina Shades of Pride Stonewall Soiree, Institute for Women’s Studies at the University of Georgia, Social Justice Day at the University of North Georgia, Ask Rayceen Show (DC), Take Back the Night, among many other events.

The AU Jazz Ensemble has been under the direction of Prof. Kenneth Green since 2010 with Dr. Alvoy Bryan, Jr. joining as the assistant director in 2012. Over the past five years, the Jazz Ensemble has performed at numerous events in Columbia and throughout the Southeast. The ensemble was invited by the Skipp Pearson Foundation to perform on the lawn of the South Carolina State House for the 2012 Jazz Under the Stars Weekend Jazzfest. In 2013, the ensemble was featured at the Mayor’s State of the City Address at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The group has performed concerts at the Columbia Museum of Art, presented a Big Read Grant concert focusing on the music of the Harlem Renaissance, and, most recently, collaborated with Nikki Giovanni and other poets in a tribute concert to the late Maya Angelou.

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