Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hip Hop and the American Constitution

Dr. Donald Tibbs in collaboration with Professor andré douglas pond cummings are offering a first-of-its-kind law school course entitled "Hip Hop and the American Constitution," this spring semester 2012. Through an innovative link-up between Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law and the West Virginia University College of Law, Tibbs and cummings are presenting to law students at both schools an intellectual and academic experience connecting the intersections of hip hop with the law. The course is being presented primarily as a lecture series, where academics and activists from across the nation are traveling to Philadelphia and presenting their published work which examines various aspects of the the law through the lens of hip hop, its artists, culture and messaging. Students will be required to read the lecturing scholars work, be it law review articles or books, and will then intellectually engage with the visiting scholars following a lecture presented by each visiting professor. In addition, students will keep a journal of their insights through the semester, and will present a final paper tackling a current issue in the law and how hip hop music or culture critiques this law.

The lecture series will occur on Thursday evenings at Drexel Law throughout the spring 2012 semester and is being broadcast live to students at WVU Law. The lecture series line-up will proceed throughout the semester as follows:

January 19, 2012: Professor Bret Asbury, Drexel Law, "Anti-Snitching and the Hip Hop Community"

January 26, 2012: Professor andré douglas pond cummings, WVU Law, "All Eyez on Me: Hip Hop, Mass Incarceration and the Prison Industrial Complex

February 3, 2012: Professor Paul Butler, George Washington Law, "Let's Get Free: A Hip Hop Theory of Justice

February 9, 2012: Dr. Imani Perry, Princeton University, "Prophets of the 'Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop"

February 16, 2012: Professor Akilah Folami, Hofstra Law, "Law, Hip Hop and the Black Public Sphere"

February 23, 2012: Dr. Tryon Woods, UMass - Dartmouth, "Law, Black Sexual Politics, and Punishment"

March 1, 2012: Professor Kim Chanbonpin, John Marshall Law, "Legal Writing, The Remix: Plagiarism and Hip Hop Ethics

March 8, 2012: Professor Anthony Farley, Albany Law, "Sarah Palin: The Last Black President or Straight Up Gangsta"

March 22, 2012: Professor Pamela Bridgewater, American Law, "Is Feminism Dead? Is Hip Hop Dead? And Other 21st Century Questions of Marginal Utility"

March 29, 2012: Professor Andre Smith, Widener Law, "OPP - Other People's Property: Hip Hop's Inherent Clashes With Property Laws and its Ascendance as Global Counter Culture"

April 5, 2012: Dr. Donald Tibbs, Drexel Law, "From Black Power to Hip Hop"

April 12, 2012: Guest Finale/Keynote Speaker (TBA)

Contributing scholars who will teach portions of the WVU Law section include Professor Atiba Ellis, WVU Law and Nick Sciullo, Ph.d candidate, Georgia State University.

Each of the above lecture series participants will publish their articles or book excerpts in an anthology that Tibbs and cummings will edit, slated for publication in 2013.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Founding Fathers Try Their Hand at Rapping

Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and Hip Hop? Hip Hop on Broadway? Although at first these concepts might seem completely unrelated, “The Hamilton Mixtape”—merging hip hop and theater—has recently opened as part of New York City’s Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. Inspired by Ron Chernow’s book, Alexander Hamilton, the act comes alive with its hip-hop rock fusion.

Between Alexander Hamilton rapping that death is just a beat without a melody or arguing (and rapping) with Aaron Burr, American history and hip hop liven up—and merge—in this dynamic show. But considering that Hamilton feuded with Burr in a territorial clash, it is easy to extrapolate the beef to hip hop—say, Tupac and Biggie Smalls.

So while it may have taken a leap to merge hip hop and our founding fathers, and while the flow may be dubious, this fusion may be what is needed to get the music theater movement rolling again.