NCORE Conference Brings Hip Hop to Indy
Since the 1970s Hip Hop music has been able to transcend cultural, socioeconomic, and language barriers since its birth in the Bronx, New York. Hip Hop music has influenced radio, television, and the way we view certain things that take place in our society such as crime and poverty. Yet in the past 30 years, Hip Hop music looks nothing like it did in the early days. The music today is more about material possessions, partying, and sexual content. Yet there are those who dedicate their lives to educating others about the importance of Hip Hop music. This year at the 2014 NCORE Diversity conference, a session entitled Hip Hop as Evolution: From Urban Shadows to the Global Mainstream and Academy was held to highlight the history and significance of Hip Hop music. Hip Hop pioneer Africa Bambaataa, Hip Hop artist Jasiri X, Yo Yo, Aisha Fukushima, and Hip Hop photographer Joe Conzo served as panelists for the two-hour discussion, which was held at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. Martha Diaz, who served as the moderator, facilitated the conversation where the panelists talked about the experiences, contributions, and influence that they’ve had on the Hip Hop culture. Africa Bambaataa took attendees down memory lane as he spoke of the origins of Hip Hop music. Bambaataa was very influential with using Hip Hop music as a way to draw young people from gangs and crimes to doing something positive by creating music. During the discussion Bambaataa talked about the importance of learning history about the past, and how as a people we can’t be caught up in believing the hype!“We have to learn our real history in order to have a sense of direction,” stated Bambaataa.The females also represented during the discussion. Aisha Fukushima currently serves as a Youth Coordinator at BAVC in San Francisco, California. Fukushima calls herself a ‘RAPtivist’, in which she educates others around the world about social justice & Hip Hop. Fukushima speaks of unity in her music, an appreciation of life, and her experiences living in other countries. Yolanda Whitaker, or better known to the world as Yo Yo, talked about her passion for other artists who had an impact on Hip Hop music. Yo Yo was a protégé of rap artist, producer, and director Ice Cube. When Yo Yo was asked about the death of Tupac Shukar, she was not afraid to express her feelings not only as an artist, but as a friend of the slain rapper.“I remember seeing Tupac right before he died. I was upset, because his life did not have to end that way,” said Yo Yo.Hip Hop’s fallen soldiers will never be forgotten. One person who has committed the last 30 plus years of capturing images of Hip Hop is photographer Joe Conzo Jr. Conzo’s work is now being featured at Cornell University’s Library Division of Rare Manuscript Collections. NCORE Conference attendees had the pleasure of witnessing various photographs from the collection during the panel discussion. The session concluded with each panelist giving last thoughts that reflected their passion, dedication, and love for Hip Hop Music. For more information on the panelists and the NCORE conference please visit http://aishafukushima.com, https://ncore.ou.edu/en/2015/, http://www.hiphopeducation.org, and http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/hiphop/index.html.