Wu Tang_Flack.PNG

Jason Flack’s painting “Wu-Tang”

Multiple programs at East Tennessee State University have partnered to present Hip-Hop History: A Cultural Celebration, a series of events aimed at recognizing the important contributions hip-hop has made to art and culture.

The Black American Studies Program, the Reece Museum and the Mary V. Jordan Multicultural Center, with support from the College of Arts and Sciences’ Office of Equity and Inclusion, are working on this initiative.

“This partnership and collaborative exercise highlight the importance of Black Americans and their contributions to America, especially in Appalachia,” said Dr. Daryl A. Carter, professor, associate dean and director of Black American Studies.

Over the summer, the United States Senate passed a resolution that designated November as “Hip-Hop History Month,” elevating hip-hop’s status to other uniquely American genres such as jazz, blues, gospel and rock ‘n’ roll. “Hip-hop artists and supporters, originally of African heritage, now transcend many different ages, ethnicities, religions, locations, political affiliations and socioeconomic statuses,” reads the resolution, “which demonstrates the melting-pot quality of hip-hop art and culture.”

Rebecca Proffitt, interim director of the Reece Museum, said the collaboration “represents an opportunity to think about the ways that art forms create connective spaces between communities.”

She added: “I think it’s important to recognize that many art forms that we think of as being traditionally Appalachian are rooted in African and Indigenous cultural expressions, representing a long history of the sharing of ideas and knowledge between culture groups.”

To start the celebration, the Mary V. Jordan Multicultural Center hosted singer and songwriter Jonathan Blanchard on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at the D.P. Culp Student Center.

The Reece Museum, located at 363 Stout Drive, will host more events later in the month:

  • At 1 p.m. on Nov. 16, Carter will present a lecture titled “The Business of Hip-Hop.”
  • At 3 p.m. on Nov. 16, there will be a panel discussion featuring ETSU History Professor Dr. Elwood Watson and Director of Black in Appalachia Will Isom.
  • At 1 p.m. on Nov. 18, there will be an artist talk by Johnson City artist Jason Flack, who also has an exhibition at the Reece Museum through the end of November.
  • At 3 p.m. on Nov. 18, Artistic Director of the Good Guy Collective and hip-hop artist Jarius Bush will give a presentation and musical performance. The event will end with a jam session between Bush and musicians from the ETSU Department of Appalachian Studies.

“We are so thrilled about the many engaging events happening at the Reece Museum in November,” said Proffitt. “We welcome both our ETSU family, as well as the public, to attend.”

Masks will be required at all indoor events. To learn more about hip-hop history events, call 423-439-4392 or visit www.etsu.edu/reece. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.

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