On Wednesday, the Michigan State University School of Journalism held "Uplifting Voices, Empowering Communities," an event discussing the prominence of hip-hop and Black culture for the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. The event took place in the Communication Arts and Science building's WKAR studio and was hosted by journalism Assistant Professor Dr. Christina L. Myers.
The event also featured many prominent musical guest speakers, including spoken word artist Mama Sol, who worked with the Detroit Pistons on their 2021 "We Hustle Different" campaign, MSU Professor and the Inaugural Chairperson of the Department of African American and African Studies Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown, rapper and songwriter James Gardin, and hip-hop and soul musician Mikeyy Austin.
Myers, who teaches Journalism 108: The World of Media at MSU, works to show her students how to engage with music in all forms.
“I try to create a space in the classroom that we can talk to each other and have a discussion," Myers said. "But instead of having me talking about my work, I thought, let's switch it up let's bring in voices from the community”
The studio was packed with students in attendance who listened to the speakers tell their stories of what hip-hop means to them.
Communications freshman Ava Bolin is a student of Myers. She said she was excited to attend the event and listen to the artists share their perspectives.
“I really liked the event," Bolin said. "It was really interesting to learn about all their personal experiences and how they grew up and learned from hip hop.”
For students like digital storytelling sophomore Cole Bennett, who wasn't a part of Myers' class, the event was interesting nonetheless and unpacked the facets of hip-hop's history.
“I wanted to learn more about hip-hop and learn more about the music, and there was no better place to learn and listen than here," Bennett said.
Myers said she wanted students to learn that hip-hop is more than "just a genre of music."
"It's been so insturmental in my culture," she said. "And I thought, 'what better way than to learn from the artists themselves on how hip hop has impacted them?'”
The event was also live streamed, garnering 91 viewers online. Myers said she was pleased by the turnout.
"It just goes to show that conversations like this are important and needed, and people want to hear them," she said.
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