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The First Hip Hop Conference: Remembered

  • Broadcast in Culture



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BIRTH OF A MOVEMENT: The 20th Anniversary of the Nation's First Hip Hop Conference. A conversation with CEEON QUIETT, TIMOTHY D. JONES, and APRIL R. SILVER

Back in the fall of 1990, a handful of students at Howard University, fresh off the internationally covered take-over of the campus administration building, were the first to call for a "meeting of the minds" on the topic of hip hop culture. We probed its affect on society, the academy, and the community-at-large. As 20-somethings, we developed an idea to produce a music conference - one that would dig into the business of hip hop; one that would address the how's and why's of artist integrity and responsibility. We also wondered: Who owns hip hop, who controls it, and how do we get it back? Never before had hip hop been examined so seriously - by its artists, by music and entertainment industry executives, by local public school students, by college students, and by the community-at- large.

Twenty years later: What's the legacy of those students (who ran the conference for six consecutive years)? Where are they now? who benefited from this ground-breaking discourse? Mission Accomplished?