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June Tuesday

Virtual Program | The Crime of Rhyme: Hip Hop History, Systemic Racism, and a Discussion of Rap On Trial


“If you believe that I’m a cop killer, you believe David Bowie is an astronaut.” —Rapper Ice-T, on the persona he adopted in the song “Cop Killer”

Explore the story of opportunistic prosecutors who have looked at rap and hip hop lyrics as justifications for perpetuating the criminalization and incarceration of men of color in this discussion. Authors Erik Nielson and Andrea Dennis place case studies of rappers in which their lyrics have become evidence against them within the greater context of hip hop history in their book Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America. Join them for a conversation of this injustice, the stakes of persecuting artists, and more with Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival founder Wes Jackson.

This is presented as part of our ongoing programming partnership with The New Press


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

7:30 pm

Online Program via Zoom Webinar


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Missed this program? Watch it here!


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    Erik Nielson

    Erik Nielson is an associate professor of liberal arts at the University of Richmond, where he teaches courses on African American literature and hip hop culture. A co-author of Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America, he lives in Richmond, Virginia, and Brooklyn, New York.

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    Andrea L. Dennis

    Andrea L. Dennis holds the John Byrd Martin Chair of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law and was formerly an assistant federal public defender. A co-author of Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America, she lives in Athens, Georgia.

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    Wes Jackson

    Wes Jackson has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and innovator in the music business. His career began as a concert producer and promoter for legendary headliners across Hip Hop and other genres. In 2005 Wes founded the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival with the mission to create a world class event to honor Hip Hop music and culture and the borough of Brooklyn.