Critically-acclaimed author and hip-hop activist Bakari Kitwana partners with the Harvard University Law School-based think tank The Jamestown Project to announce a national tour that seeks to answer the question, “Is America Really Post-Racial?”
Rap Sessions presents a diverse panel of leading artists, scholars and activists to engage youth and community leaders in candid, compelling conversations about the ways that race and democracy are being redefined in our national culture. Targeting the hip-hop generation that helped build early support for America’s first Black president, these interactive townhall meetings debate the extent to which young Americans have opened a new chapter in American race relations.
“Two-thirds of young voters 18-29 voted for Barack Obama, who called for national discussions on race during the 2008 presidential campaign,” notes Kitwana. “This is the same generation that legitimized the n-word in mainstream pop culture and everyday use. The goal of these discussions is to help the nation, and young people in particular, think through these complexities.”
Considering recent census figures that suggest minorities will be the majority by midcentury, the movement in party politics to appeal across race like the recen t selection of Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, who is African American, and heady debates about the new racial politics from the ivory tower to the street corner, Kitwana added: “We now have two generations of Americans who have lived their entire lives in the post-segregation era. For some racial division is a thing of the past, for others having a mixed race president on it’s own doesn’t bridge the racial divide.”
Beginning in February 2009, Rap Sessions’ community dialogues will convene in ten cities across the United States. Panelists include: Tricia Rose (Brown University Africana Studies professor and author of four books including The Hip-Hop Wars); Jabari Asim (Editor of The NAACP magazine, The Crisis, and author of What Obama Means), Stephanie Robinson, Esq. (president and CEO of The Jamestown Project and author of Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise), MC Serch (host of VH-1 reality shows The White Rapper Show and Miss Rap Supreme) and activist Lisa Fager-Bediako (founder and president of Industry Ears, Inc.).
Kitwana, the moderator of these discussions, is co-founder of the first ever National Hip-Hop Political Convention. His book The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture has been adopted as a coursebook at over 100 colleges and universities across the country. The 2007-2008 Artist-in-Residence at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, Kitwana has been ackn owledged as an expert on youth culture and hip-hop politics by CNN, Fox News, CNBC, BET and other leading news outlets. His writings have appeared in the Village Voice, The New York Times, The Nation, and the Boston Globe. Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era is his most recent book.
The Jamestown Project is a diverse action-oriented think tank of new leaders who reach across boundaries and generations to make democracy real. The Jamestown Project consists of scholars, activists, and communities who use five broad strategies to achieve its mission: generating new ideas; promoting meaningful public conversations and engagement; cultivating new leaders; formulating political strategy and public policy; and using cutting-edge communications techniques that reach a broad public. For more information, go to http://www.jamestownproject.org
For more information about Rap Sessions, log onto: http://www.rapsessions.org.
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18th; Little Rock, AR
23rd; Knoxville, TN
13th; Boston, MA
24th; Cleveland, OH
31st; Anchorage, AK
10th; Auburn, AL
15th; Champaign, IL
16th Chicago, IL
17th; Minneapolis, MN
22nd; Los Angeles, CA