Lehman College’s 1st Annual Hip-Hop Summit
By: Julian Velazquez
Lehman College’s 1st Annual Hip-Hop Summit has proven to be a very enlightening experience. Myself, and my peers who attended the Summit, were not expecting much of an event. To our surprise, we marveled at the event’s substance and integrity. In the few hours we spent in the music building, we all witnessed a different side of Hip-Hop; one that was positive, educated and very in touch with its roots.
The group of established panelists who were present to sound off on their thoughts, and shared their scholarly views as integral members of Hip-Hop’s now international community was a real learning experience. A lot of the younger generations, especially the high school students who were in attendance were the recipients of awareness. Most, if not all of the discussion topics pertained to the contemporary issues of Hip-Hop, some that went above and beyond the music and dance, breaching into other areas where the culture is present including, the recently attained government offices and the educational system.
Out of the volumes of knowledge that came from a few spare minutes of commentary from the panel, what stuck out the most to me as a young minority in school, is the contributions of urban youth, that in time will yield the future of the nation as well as the future of Hip-Hop. Which is where the urgency of awareness comes into play. Awareness really opens the eyes of a young man or woman who realizes that the safety and integrity of an entire culture can be affected simply by making the choices to educate yourself as well as finding opportunities to create and in doing so, becoming a positive and knowledgeable resource for generations to come.
In addition to the insightful commentaries and exciting performances from local and visiting artists, were the educational workshops. I was fortunate enough to attend Professor Glover’s presentation about educational experiences in African travel. Professor glover herself has been an educator for more than 25 years specializing in African Studies. In her many travels to the Motherland in the 1970s and 1980s, she has taken students to various African nations like Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana. Her motivation being to reach her students and educate them about the African roots of Hip-Hop through learning about the backgrounds and cultures of the nations and to also dispel the myths about Africa. Her engaging words and visuals brought her stories to life and showed us a different Africa than the one we were taught through lies and jungle myths about “Tarzan and Jane” as she said. Overall, this event is going to be something I look forward to next year.
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