University of Rochester

University of Rochester alumnus Bakari Kitwana, a prominent author and cultural critic, will host a symposium on hip-hop culture featuring influential scholars and leaders in the study of African-American popular culture.

"The Entrepreneurial Mindset: The Culture of Hip-Hop, Entrepreneurship and Women" will run from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 31. The event is free and open to the public and will take place in Hoyt Auditorium on the University's River Campus.

Kitwana, a former executive editor of the leading hip-hop magazine The Source, has been described as "one of America's leading hip-hop intellectuals" by The Village Voice. Originally focused on mechanical engineering at the University, he switched his major to English after reading James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time and received a bachelor's degree in 1988 and master's degrees in 1990. He established a reputation as a cultural analyst early in his career. After a stint with Chicago publisher Third World Press, Kitwana joined The Source, adding political content to the musically-focused magazine. He is credited with coining the phase "the hip-hop generation" and is the author of several books on African-American popular culture, including his 1994 book The Rap on Gangsta Rap, which has been called the most detailed analysis of hip-hop ever written.

The symposium will begin with an interview of DJ Kool Herc, the Jamaican-born music pioneer of the 1970s widely known as the father of hip-hop. Herc also will give a DJ demonstration and answer audience questions. The summit will conclude with a panel discussion and town hall meeting with the members of Rap Sessions, a prominent group of activists, artists, and thinkers from the hip-hop community. Titled "Hip-Hop's Intent: The History and Future of Hip-Hop, Entrepreneurship and Women," this discussion is part of Rap Sessions' "Does Hip-Hop Hate Women?" 2007 national tour. Panel members include Mark Anthony Neal, an associate professor of African-American studies at Duke University; Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, director of the Program in African-American and Diaspora Studies and a professor at Vanderbilt University, and the author of the book Pimps Up, Ho's Down: Hip Hop's Hold on Young Black Women; Martha Diaz, president of the Hip-Hop Association; filmmaker Byron Hurt; and Glenn Toby, a prominent sports and entertainment industry talent agent.

For more information on "The Entrepreneurial Mindset: The Culture of Hip-Hop, Entrepreneurship and Women," contact (585) 275-7512.

Contact: Helene Snihur