Behind the Music: Hip Hop and Social Justice

Posted On June 15, 2017
Categories American Politics, News

Hosted by Georgia State University Political Science Department
Location: Classroom South, Room 608


In 2017 Hip-Hop culture celebrates its 44th year of existence as a cultural form in America. Since its beginning Hip-Hop has expanded beyond the borders of the United States to serve as a political, social and cultural art form in many nations and among many ethnicities and races throughout the world. Not only has rap experienced an increase in the diversity of its audience and artists, but it has also seen an increase in the political activities rap artists are participating in and an increase in the global impact of rap music on political movements.

Behind the Music: Hip Hop and Social Justice is the first Hip Hop Social Justice Workshop on Georgia State University’s campus to observe the use of the art form as an agent for change. The goal of this workshop is to look at the ways in which Hip Hop music, artists, scholars and activists have been involved with, discussed, promoted or supported social justice issues and solutions. This workshop will determine the myriad ways in which Hip Hop has been a political art form involved in social justice issues.

Behind the Music is a scholarly workshop hosted by the Department of Political Science at Georgia State University and it will take place July 10- 11, 2017 at Georgia State University. This workshop will include three sessions/panels and a keynote panel that examines Hip Hop and social justice.

Behind the Music: Hip Hop and Social Justice- Panels

Day 1: July 10, 2017

Hip-Hop and Education/Academia

This panel examines the ways that rap music and Hip-Hop culture are infused in the public educational system as a means of non-traditional, innovative methods of education. Khalilah Ali , (Clayton State University) Bettina Love (University of Georgia)

Politics and Atlanta Rap

This panel will examine the rise and importance of Atlanta rap as well as the political and social issues that have been addressed within the music.
Regina Bradley, (Armstrong State University) Maurice Hobson (Georgia State University) and Alex Acosta (Soulfood Cypher)

Day 2: July 11, 2017

Hip-Hop and Social Justice Issues/Politics

This panel will feature a discussion on the relationship between rap music, rap artists and politics.
Lakeyta Bonnette(Georgia State University), Jelani Favors (Clayton State University), and Joshua Dingle (Music Makes Me Happy).

Hip Hop’s Political and Social Voice

This address will feature two Hip Hop artists (rappers) who have consistently been involved in the fight and discussion of issues of the criminal Justice system, including fair sentencing guidelines, rehabilitation, the death penalty, the war on drugs, the prison industry and the recommendations for participation and activism.



July 10, 2017
  • 9:00 am: Coffee and breakfast
  • 9:30 am: Brief introduction for students
  • 10:00-11:00 am: Panel 1: Hip Hop Education and Academia
  • Dr. Khalilah Ali (Clayton State University)
  • Dr. Bettina Love (University of Georgia)
  • (Moderator)
  • 11:10-12:45 pm Lunch
  • 1:00-2:30 pm: Panel 2: Politics and Atlanta Rap
  • o Dr. Regina Bradley (Armstrong State University)
    o Dr. Maurice Hobson (Georgia State University)
    o Mr. Alex Acosta (Soulfood Cypher)


      July 11, 2017
      • 9am: Coffee and breakfast
      • 9:30-10:45am: Panel 1: Hip-Hop and Social Justice Issues/Politics
      • o Dr. Lakeyta Bonnette (Georgia State University)
        o Dr. Jelani Favors (Clayton State University)
        o Mr. Joshua Dingle (Music Makes Me Happy)
        o Dr. K. Juree Capers (Moderator, Georgia State University)

      • 10:45-10:55AM – coffee/Bathroom Break
      • 10:55-12:30pm: Keynote Panel
      • o Atlanta Rap Artists TBA
        o Dr. Lakeyta Bonnette (moderator, Georgia State University)

      • 12:35-1:05 pm: Closing Performances
      • o Artists TBA

      • 1:10-230: Lunch