Logo

Nas and Michael Eric Dyson hold a hip-hop forum for rich white kids

Post By RelatedRelated Post

by Dr. Kimberly Brown
Recently, Nas and Michael E. Dyson discussed hip hop.  

They sat in a Georgetown lecture hall. The moderator is a professor there. Dyson teaches there. Nas referenced going to “Harvard and meeting Skip Gates” as measures of “progress.” None of the panelists represented a Black institution (record label, school or otherwise). 

Power, of course is always measured, harnessed, and utilized via institutions, not individuals. So although three “successful” Black men poetically postulated on a university stage, what does that mean? Y’all at Georgetown? Ok.. and? Does that translate into anything meaningful or substantial related to the very people (Black people) who make, disseminate, re-make and consume hip hop culture?  (Be clear, some groups are only consumers.)

Of course, Dyson is sharp. A wordsmith. Some excellent points. Nas is undeniably brilliant. But again, the audience = kids at Georgetown and others with access! So, then what’s the point? It’s always intriguing when public intellectuals and media create opportunities to speak about popular topics that convey a concern for society, but don’t have such conversations in spaces that include the primary subjects of the dialogue, the spaces that matter, the spaces that could actually transform the conversation. Imagine a conversation about the education of Black boys had in the hood.
Your local hood. Imagine that discussion being led by Nas and Dyson. Same points shared at the Georgetown panel, different space. Imagine Rich Homie Quan in on it. Imagine Lil’ Boosie contributing to a discussion on incarceration. Imagine this interaction as a regular phenomenon.
Useful power, real power, and sincerity of concern with the state of hip hop would allow for such a conference to happen. There are HBCUs centrally located in Black neighborhoods across the southern region of America that could work well as host facilities. It’s a simple matter of ownership versus freedom. One cannot possibly believe he is free if his people rarely benefit from his talent (be it intellectual or otherwise) while others reap well consistently. O… and why not talk to women about hip hop? Women maintain heavy influence in the industry as artists, managers, publicists, vixens, consumers, etc.
Here is the state of hip hop: It’s a thing. A product. Something cool to pontificate about as long as there is no real transformative benefit to its producers. When that changes, hip hop will be a revolution… again.
Kimberly D. Brown, Ph.D.
Director of The Blackberry Preserve: 
Counsel on Historical Interpretation, Cultural Relevancy and Marketing
KEEPING THE FLAVOR OF HISTORY FRESH
Let’s meet on Twitter and Instagram @blackberrykb
* Email
  * = Required Field
 
Email Marketing You Can Trust

James

14 Comment

  1. Oh Please, either you want to dispel the stereotypes with the appropriate people ( the ones who believe in the stereotypes) or not. Cut the crap and find something real to whine about.

  2. With all due respect, you are incredibly off the mark with these assertions. I for one think we should be happy that something that we have cultivated as a society is on equal footing at a prestigious academic institution with other longer and more respected forms of art and poetry. Let's face it: this talk would not have raised much traction if it was done at an HBCU. And another problem is that you talk about these much needed panels and discussions that have the potential to be had within the black community. But why should the onus be on Nas and Dr. Dyson to hold these? You have the power to do these things yourself, but instead you criticize other people who are not doing these things…

  3. If you look at the audience of the event, it was mostly Black. It was open to everyone, including Black Georgetown students who sometimes feel so isolated on campus. Nina Simone understood that and spoke of it.

  4. Good morning Prof. Brown. I moderated the discussion between Nas and Dr. Dyson at Georgetown. It was organized by folks at the Kennedy Center in honor of Nas' historic performances there this weekend. I am not a professor at Georgetown Univ. The event at Georgetown was free and open to the public. The majority of people in the audience were people of color. Some of these folks were High School students and public school educators from the Washington DC area. Not all Georgetown students are "rich white kids." The Georgetown students who attended represented a wide array of racial, class, and ethnic backgrounds. If you would like to talk more about the event please let me know.

  5. Go hard in the paint. Jimmy…and in the process Spell the name right and the University you represent. Got bills to pay…it "Aint Hard To Tell".

  6. glad you chimed in here James Peterson. Loved the talk. Some people are so quick to hate without knowing the facts, only interjecting their own prejudices/biases into the conversation without adding any value. If the author was so sincere about her views, why hasn't she organized these talks in the hood at HBCU's? The young boys in the hood she speaks of, would they even know who Nas is? Maybe, but not likely since they are probably listening to today's crop of garbage artists like Migos and Chief Keef

  7. Wow, your take on the talk is so off base its laughable. I would suggest you look at the talk again and notice the diversity in the audience. You should also listen to what NAS and other panelists with respect to why them having a presence at an institution of higher learning is significant.

    Providing a platform for hip hop artists to be regarded on a higher level and studied in an academic sitting cements their place in history just like a Maya Angelou or Langston Hughes. Their perspectives are important and artists like Nas speak about important issues affecting black people in this country (i.e. prison industrial complex, poor public schools, lack of job opps, institutional racism, etc.) When studied in more institutions of higher learning, it can elevate the level of discussion and hopefully translate into action.

    Quick question for you, since you want to throw shade at the panelists and Gtown, when was the last time an HBCU invited an artist of Nas' caliber to do anything? Check the last homecoming at any HBCU in the country and see names like Migos and other wack artists who were invited to perform instead of true hip hop heads like Nas. That will give you plenty of insight into what those institutions think about "real hip hop."

  8. As a Georgetown Student I am offended by this post. Most of the audience was Black and Latino/ Latina. Get your facts straight. Black kids go to Georgetown too!

  9. I’m a Hoya, and offended. What an ignorant, tactless article. Dr. Brown needs to research before she writes. And….if she insists on being such an Essentialist, has she never heard of Patrick Healey? Does she know anything about Georgetown? Does she know that Georgetown is an incredibly diverse community? Who is she to tell anyone what, where, and with whom they should converse? She writes, “Here is the state of hip hop: It’s a thing. A product. Something cool to pontificate about as long as there is no real transformative benefit to its producers. When that changes, hip hop will be a revolution… again.” She can substitute ‘education’ for ‘hip-hop’, and think about her reactionary, misinformed, regressive, reductionist stance.

  10. I have read the many comments on here and I have found myself more and more shocked by the spiral of black people that are not really for their own. Have any of you ever seen the Hispanics, jews, whites, or whatever background that they may be from; so easily and readily run to white institutions to educate those who will soon be the CEO or politicians about their culture? The answer is no, and the issues that were raised in the discussion also should not have been brought out at the institution. That is my opinion and I wish that it was the majority of all of yours. We need to have a “black scholars,” spending more time in our neighborhoods and HBCU’s instead of the news media and white institutions.

    Ask yourself this question, with all of the African American during the Civil Rights Movement that went and spoke time and time again to either appeal to white peoples so called sense of morality or to explain why they do what they do, what has come of it? If you had a enemy then of course you are going to let them do all of the talking, show you the in’s and out’s of your culture all to come back and do whatever bidding that you wish to them. Has that not been the history of these people since the beginning? I guess we believe that Sociology is really used to study the cultures of people without doing anything with the data that is received. Come on people, put down the juice and open your eyes.

    I went to two HBCU’s and will not allow my children to attend a white institution, but you people will most likely tell me that I am wrong for that. Another question, would not a white man forbid his children from attending an HBCU? If you are being honest with yourself then you know that he would not allow it, so why do we?

  11. This particular article saddens me. I was also a part of the event at Georgetown University that evening, and this article is in no indicative of the what actually happened. First and foremost, the event was FREE to the public. Secondly, the audience was majority African-American, comprised of students of Georgetown, teens from the DMV area, as well as teachers from the DMV area as well. In all actuality, the particular demographic that the article says should of been receiving this talk, was there 10 fold. There was foresight, and well as insight in this forum throughout, which should not diminished because the talk was held at a PWI. Are we suggesting that just because it’s being held there that this space is only reserved for “rich white kids”? What message does that send our brothers and sisters who chose to attend a Georgetown, a Duke, or any other school that fits the “rich white kids” bill? Does this mean that they can’t live in these spaces? What does this say about the authenticity of hip-hop? Does this mean in order for this talk to be valid it has to be held in the “hood”? Hip-hop is not genius enough to live in the IVY League or the like? What does it also say about the lack of knowledge that HBCU’s old regime has about a culture that did NOT start with Boosie, but actually started to PREVENT gang violence in the 1970’s, and is now being shunned at most HBCUs on having a curriculum that can dispel all of these myths about the culture. I would suggest research, or even interview some of the fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers from the DMV area who brought their family members to GU to hear this talk.

    Also…..Dr. James Peterson is head of Africana Studies at LEHIGH….not GU….

  12. This particular article saddens me. I was also a part of the event at Georgetown University that evening, and this article is in no way indicative of the what actually happened. First and foremost, the event was FREE to the public. Secondly, the audience was majority African-American, comprised of students of Georgetown, teens from the DMV area, as well as teachers from the DMV area as well. In all actuality, the particular demographic that the article says should of been receiving this talk, was there 10 fold. There was foresight, and well as insight in this forum throughout, which should not diminished because the talk was held at a PWI. Are we suggesting that just because it’s being held there that this space is only reserved for “rich white kids”? What message does that send our brothers and sisters who chose to attend a Georgetown, a Duke, or any other school that fits the “rich white kids” bill? Does this mean that they can’t live in these spaces? What does this say about the authenticity of hip-hop? Does this mean in order for this talk to be valid it has to be held in the “hood”? Hip-hop is not genius enough to live in the IVY League or the like? What does it also say about the lack of knowledge that HBCU’s old regime has about a culture that did NOT start with Boosie, but actually started to PREVENT gang violence in the 1970′s, and is now being shunned at most HBCUs on having a curriculum that can dispel all of these myths about the culture? I would suggest research, or even interview some of the fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers from the DMV area who brought their family members to GU to hear this talk.

    Also…..Dr. James Peterson is head of Africana Studies at LEHIGH….not GU….

  13. either she wasn't there,she HEARD or shes upset it was held at Georgetown and not a HBCU.

    she need to write a apology

  14. It’s a real pity that Boyce Watkins and his associates are transforming all his venues into vehicles for venting his professional jealousies. The Black community is not all served by petty articles such as this one.

Leave a Comment

Email (will not be published)


*

* Email
  * = Required Field
 
Email Marketing You Can Trust
Get Your Free Copy of the Malcolm In The Morning Ebook
Get It Now

Enjoyed What You Read....Do You Want More?

Don't Leave Just Yet!!! Take A Moment to Enter An Email Address to Receive The Ebook "Malcolm In The Morning" and Daily News Updates Delivered to Your Email.