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Hip Hop for a Different Future

February 19, 2016

The creation of the rhythm is a process of cutting and looping, of sonic rupture in the break – and “In those breaks we witness resistant voices that refuse to be silenced” (Martineau & Ritskes, 2014). Hip hop aesthetic and knowledge, as Mark Campbell argues, needs to be implemented in our broader political life – a way of being that embraces the sonic ruptures of colonial sense making and “destabilize[s] our socially constructed boundaries.”

What does it mean, then, to understand hip hop as “anti-racist and de-colonial, as a cultural movement, art form, educational philosophy and way of being”?

Decolonization is honored to be collaborating with the Multi-Faith Centre, First Nations House, Hart House and the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office to host a series of discussions that further examine themes of decolonization, spirituality, and social transformation, information about these events can be found here.

February 25, 6:30 p.m.  East Common Room, Hart House
Hip Hop for a different future: Decolonization, spirituality and social transformation
Panelists: Dr. Mark V. Campbell, Hawa Y. Mire and Jasiri X
Moderator: Dr. Kyle T. Mays, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Mark, Jasiri X and Kyle were each part of a series on decolonization and hip hop that we published last Spring.

Mark’s essay, Sonic Intimacies: DJing Better Futures, looked to the sonic to destablize our socially constructed boundaries between cultures, particularly with an eye to solidarities between Black and Indigenous peoples. It includes a mix he recorded that explore these possible intimacies.


Jasiri X’s essay, Motivation and Mission (Don’t Let them Get Away with Murder), gave us an inside look into his song, ““Don’t Let Them Get Away With Murder”, which is an anthem written out of #BlackLivesMatter and the racial and colonial climate of the United States that allows Black youth to be murdered by police officers in the name of justice.


Hawa Y. Mire is a diasporic Somali storyteller who writes and thinks around the intersections of art, storytelling and Blackness. In an interview with the Feminist Wire, Hawa and collaborator Luam Kidane write that they believe “that a decolonial aesthetic is central to Black struggles.” She has also had her own fiction published in the online, pan-African collective site, Jalada.

Kyle Mays, who is moderating this discussion, wrote an essay in our series on how hip hop allows Indigenous artists to put “into practice of the complex and diverse ways that we embody and live out our Indigenous selves.” In his essay, hip hop works to explore some of the contradictions and possibilities of being Indigenous in ‘modern’ times.

February 26, 2 p.m.  Music Room, Hart House
Rhyming for Black and Indigenous liberation: A conversation between two emcees
Panelists: Shibastik and Jasiri X
Moderator: Professor Karyn Recollet, Women & Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto

Shibastik was the subject of an essay in our series, which examined what hip hop’s emphasis on “place, space, and voice look like for Indigenous artists and Indigenous cultural production?


Karyn Recollet’s work examines Indigenous futurities and love through hip hop and Indigenous performance, and can be seen in a recent article she wrote on ‘Glyphing Decolonial Love




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