Topics at the Symposium

The Hip-hop Music and Culture Symposium was a crash course in African-American culture in relation to its historical, political, and aesthetic relevance in today’s society. Each presenter had his or her own style, but everyone had one goal in mind: to educate people about the power that music and its artists have on the world.

“Hip-hop is the most socially relevant and influential music since rock and roll,” said Professor Michael Zager.

Audiographic presentationReginald Jolly, music director and on-air personality at FAU Owl Radio, used an audiographic approach to trace – in his opinion – the most influential artists over the past two decades. On his list were Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, Mobb Deep, Wutang Clan, Jay-Z, and 50-Cent. “These guys set the bar as far as music, albums, and hip-hop is concerned,” Jolly said.

Marriage of hip-hop and historyAssistant Professor of History at Michigan State University, Pero Dagbovie, delved into the area of ‘Black History’s Relevance to the Hip-hop Generation.’ According to Dagbovie, the Hip-hop Generation consists of people who were born between 1965 and 1984. In his lecture, he spoke of the media’s ability to further deal with historical issues in the African American community, but more importantly their choice to do so. He feels that popular mainstream magazines such as Vibe and Source, although claiming to cater to the Hip Hop community, leave important elements such as history out of the mix. “The Hip-hop Generation feels as if they are separated from the past,” Dagbovie said. His solution is to take hip-hop and use it to educate Blacks about the issues at hand.

Hip-hop as a pedagical toolPhD Candidate in FAU’s Comparative Studies Program, Trudy Mercadal-Sabbagh, showed how hip-hop music offered a bridge between learning styles. A volunteer at an alternative school, Mercadal-Sabbagh incorporates rap music into the curriculum in an effort to stop existing violence. “Young blacks are often the victims rather than perpetrators of violence,” Mercadal-Sabbagh said. Through her research, she found that hip-hop could be used as a pedagogical tool to change the faulty educational system. “I refuse to believe that things cannot change,” Mercadal-Sabbagh said.