The Blackademics Hip-Hop curriculum was first introduced at Durham School of the Arts in 2004. Durham’s Hayti Heritage Center was sponsoring its inaugural Hip-Hop and Spoken Word festival, and home-town heroes Language Arts (myself and “dope emcee” Aden Darity) was on the ground facilitating discussions with high school students about Hip-Hop music and culture. The event culminated in a performance for the entire student body, during which LA performed alongside several DSA students, including Aden’s younger brother jazz guitarist William Darity. Since ’04, the curriculum has gone through some major changes. Most important, perhaps, was in 2006 when the curriculum developed from an independent study/community project into a fully fledged honors thesis. Under the tutelage of Dr. Perry Hall and historian Dr. Genna Rae McNeil, it matured from a classroom workshop into a comprehensive analysis of African American music, from Spirituals to Hip-Hop.
In the 5 years since its inception, Blackademics has traveled from Durham’s Hayti Heritage Center to the Martin Luther King Jr. Arts Complex in Columbus Ohio; from Durham School of the Arts, to the Deepalaya School Gusbethi in New Dehli, India; and from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to the University of Ghana at Legon. Now celebrating our 5th year I wanted to share footage from two recent workshops that bring it back to where it all started. Below, I’ve got youtube clips from my Hip-Hop/jazz quartet, The Beast‘s most recent program at Durham School of the Arts. Below that, check out a Hip-Hop Symposium we developed for Movement of Youth, featuring Grammy nominee Phonte (of The Foreign Exchange – congrats on the Grammy nod, Tigga!). As Blackademics.org grows, we will incorporate more information about our educational programs into the framework of the blog. We’re really looking forward to the next 5 years!