PUBLISHED: January 22, 2013

Conference to explore hip hop’s power to bring social change

Hip hop MC YoYo

Pioneering hip hop MC YoYo will be featured during the Third Annual Hip Hop Literacies Conference Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15 and 16, in Columbus. “Pedagogies for Social Change” offers lectures, performances and workshops that explore issues that affect youth: education, racism, social identity, impoverishment, and social inequality in local and international communities.

The free conference, organized by Elaine Richardson, professor of teaching and learning, will involve scholars, educators, artists and community members. They will take a closer look at the wider socio-cultural value of hip hop arts and their use in improving the academic and social successes of youth and marginalized communities.

Grammy-nominated artist YoYo is a community activist, educator and founder of the Intelligent Black Women’s Coalition and the YoYo School of Hip Hop.

Conference presentations include two academic keynotes in conjunction with the 2013 National Council of Teachers of English Assembly for Research. They are:

  • Martha Diaz, documentary producer and adjunct professor, Gallatin School, New York University, who will report on national trends in hip-hop education.
  • Christopher Emdin, author of Urban Science for the Hip Hop Generation, who will discuss the use of hip hop in mathematics and science education. He is director of secondary school initiatives, Urban Science Education Center, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Featured panelists include Aisha Durham, University of South Florida; James Braxton Peterson, Lehigh University; K.S. Nat Turner, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and Ruth Nicole Brown, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Saturday highlights include:

  • The Rhyme Like a Girl Workshop, with hip hop activist Toni Blackman, founder of the Freestyle Union to encourage young poets, writers and lyricists. As the U.S. State Department’s first American cultural specialist for hip hop, she has visited Senegal, Ghana, Botswana and Swaziland.
  • A concert at 8 p.m. with YoYo, Blackman and local and regional hip hop artists.

For a complete calendar of events, visit http://ehe.osu.edu/conferences/hip-hop-literacies/. Admission is free but registration (http://2013osuhiphopliteracies.eventbrite.com/#) is required. Space is limited.

Friday events will be held on Ohio State’s Columbus campus in the Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St., and the Frank Hale Black Cultural Center, 153 W. 12th Ave. On Saturday, activities will at the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing and Cultural Arts Complex, 867 Mt. Vernon Avenue.

Public parking is available in the Ohio Union South Garage. Free transportation will be provided from the Columbus campus to the King complex.

The Third Annual Hip Hop Literacies Conference, “Pedagogies for Social Change,” is co-sponsored by Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and Human Ecology; the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing and Cultural Arts Complex; the National Council of Teachers of English Assembly for Research; the Ohio Humanities Council; and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.