Digging in the Crates: Gender & Hip Hop
Join Blair Ebony Smith [PhD Candidate at Syracuse University and artist-scholar with organizing collective Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT) as well as girl-band We Levitate] and Kyesha Jennings (Hip Hop Scholar and Curator/English Lecturer at NC State University) for a discussion of how issues of gender manifest in hip hop culture. Performances and an open cypher to follow. #VTDITC
Blair Ebony Smith (DJ B.E./lovenloops) is an artist, scholar and Doctoral Candidate. Her artistic and scholarly work with Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths a practice based and organizing collective that seeks to envision Black girlhood anew. Her particular artist inquiry obsessions seek to document, analyze, and interrogate Black girlhood and Black girls' relationships with each other and to power through creative sound and music-making exploring praxis' of taking care, cruising and Crossings, specifically as they are practiced and theorized in SOLHOT. This work also explores her participation in girl-band, We Levitate, an digital and musical ritual experience of doing SOLHOT. The working title of her forthcoming dissertation is Cruisings, Crossings and Care: The Collective Sounds of Black Girlhood, Freedom and Genius. As an artist Blair is known as DJ B.E. as the DJ for We Levitate and lovenloops, as a beat maker and sampler, a sonic exploration of Black feminist and Black girlhood love and organizing genealogies and the ways we take up celebration in SOLHOT.
Kyesha Jennings is an English Lecturer at NC State University. Her research focuses on African American Literature and the integration of Hip Hop and Popular Culture texts.
Her co-authored article, "Teaching in the Mix: Turntablism, DJ Aesthetics, and African American Literature" hones in on the aesthetics and sensibilities of hip-hop scholarship by examining how goal-oriented and compositional techniques of DJs was used to design her Survey of African American Literature course. This summer she began her PhD program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is studying English Literature and Criticism. Most recently she was featured on NPR's The State of Things where she reviewed her local hip hop scene in a round table discussion.