Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Black Student Union celebrates fifty years of hip-hop

BSU hosted an event providing the history and culture of hip-hop.
Jason Steinfeld
Local artist Christina Lee provides a graffiti design poster for students to draw on and express themselves

On Oct. 17, the Black Student Union hosted an interactive lecture about the evolution of hip-hop from 1973 to 2023 as part of African-American culture. 

The event, held in the Live Oak Pavilion, was sectioned in decades with several speakers and hip-hop music from each decade to accompany them. One of the main presenters was Melanie Acosta, a Multicultural Education professor, who began by explaining what motivated the creation of hip-hop.

“Hip-hop culture was created in response to a plethora of social structural issues that deeply impacted the black community in the late 1960s and 70s. Examples are the Vietnam war, inner-city race riots, economic recession, and many other issues that harmed black Americans,” Acosta said.

Acosta explained how African lineage inspired hip-hop; that the beat of an African drum is what many hip-hop artists use today. 

“What you love about hip-hop is that beat. That comes from Africa, so we have to pay homage to that. And how when African slaves were brought over, they would use a song for their survival,” Acosta said.

Music isn’t the only thing in hip-hop culture being highly expressed at the event. Graffiti art was another imperative aspect during the night. Community visual artist Christina Lee  placed a graffiti poster outside encouraging students to express themselves and their art on the poster.

“I am very passionate about graffiti because of what it stands for in our culture and hip-hop. So when you go out, there will be supplies for you to go crazy on the board. I don’t want to see any space. I want you guys to have fun and express yourself,” Lee said.

The lecture provided a summary of the history and culture of hip-hop through the decades from the seventies to the present while also playing various hip-hop songs that occurred in that era. 

Brian Knowles, manager of the Department of African American Latino Holocaust Studies for the Palm Beach County school district, also spoke at the event. He expressed how honored he felt to provide the lecture as an FAU alumni.

“I’ve seen the culture grow and evolve here from the early 2000s and it was very much different. The campus was much smaller , far less diverse and less tolerant. So looking at the academic growth of diversity here to discuss hip-hop on an academic level is a big deal,” Knowles said.

Jason Steinfeld is a contributing writer for University Press. For more information about this article or others, you can reach him via Instagram @jasonsteinfeld221 or email him at [email protected].


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