The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles has launched the Hip Hop Initiative. The program aims to establish UCLA as a leading center for hip-hop studies globally by way of artist residencies, community engagement programs, a book series, an oral history and digital archive project, postdoctoral fellowships, and more. The initiative will focus on hip-hop as one of modern history’s most powerful cultural movements and most visible symbols of contemporary Black performance and protest.
H. Samy Alim, a professor of anthropology at the university who holds the David O. Sears Presidential Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences and is the founding director of the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Language, is leading the new program. “As we celebrate 50 years of hip-hop music and cultural history, the rigorous study of the culture offers us a wealth of intellectual insight into the massive social and political impact of Black music, Black history, and Black people on global culture — from language, dance, visual art and fashion to electoral politics, political activism and more,” said Profesor Alim.
Dr. Alim is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Chuck D, the longtime leader of the politically and socially conscious rap group Public Enemy, is the program’s first artist-in-residence.