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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

"The Hip Hop & Obama Reader" Authors to Deliver Black History Month Keynote

Two professors who examined the influence of hip-hop on politics during President Barack Obama's tenure will deliver the keynote address during Black History Month at Old Dominion University.

Erik Nielson, assistant professor of liberal arts at the University of Richmond; and Travis L. Gosa, assistant professor of Africana studies at Cornell University, will present and lead an interactive discussion on "The Hip Hop and Obama Reader," an analysis of the intersection of presidential politics and modern African American culture.

The event, Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Big Blue Room of Old Dominion's Ted Constant Convocation Center, is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR) at 757-683-4406 or oir@odu.edu.

The Black History Month keynote address is co-sponsored by the Coalition of Black Faculty and Administrators, College of Arts and Letters, ODU National Pan-Hellenic Council and the OIR.

"The Hip Hop and Obama Reader" examines how Obama flipped the script when he openly embraced hip-hop, which is often regarded as politically toxic, in his presidential campaigns. This change was recognized by the influential artists, who publicly embraced him. The book was released last October by Oxford University Press.

Over the course of 14 chapters, leading scholars and activists offer new perspectives on hip-hop's role in political mobilization, grassroots organizing, campaign branding and voter turnout, as well as the ever-changing linguistic, cultural, racial and gendered dimensions of hip-hop in the U.S. and abroad.

"The Hip Hop and Obama Reader" is the keynote event during a month-long celebration at the University, under the theme, "Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories."

Other planned events include:

  • Feb. 2, President's Lecture Series, 7:30 p.m., Ted Constant Convocation Center. Alicia Garza, social activist and co-creator of the viral hashtag and movement #BlackLivesMatter, will deliver the President's Lecture. Sponsored by Old Dominion's Office of Community Engagement.
  • Feb. 8-9, Tunnel of Oppression, 6 - 10 p.m., River Rooms, Webb University Center. An interactive event that will immerse attendees in an experience that will simulate being oppressed, or oppressing others. Sponsored by ODU's Housing and Residence Life diversity and initiatives committee and OIR.
  • Feb. 9, NAACP Keynote Speaker: Ronald Horne, 7 p.m., North Café, Webb Center. ODU NAACP will host a lecture by ODU's first full-time African American student, Ronald Horne, as part of our Founders' Week. Sponsored by ODU NAACP.
  • Feb. 10, My Body, My Truth: The Journey of a Once Pregnant Transgender Man, 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m., Hampton/Newport News Room, Webb Center. Kayden X. Coleman will share his journey to loving his body and authentically living his truth. Dinner will be provided. Sponsored by the OIR.
  • Feb. 11, ODUnited, Part II, 7 p.m. Isle of Wight Room, Webb Center. A workshop to promote inclusiveness at Old Dominion University, featuring breakout discussions on how to be an ally, and how being pro-black doesn't mean being anti-white. Sponsored by the Old Dominion NAACP.
  • Feb. 16, Global Café: Nigeria, 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m., Office of Intercultural Relations, 2109 Webb Center. Global Café Nigeria is an opportunity for the ODU community to learn about Nigerian culture. Sponsored by OIR.
  • Feb. 18, Skin Deep, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. River Rooms, Webb Center. An interactive panel with student organizations, exploring cultural differences and similarities. Sponsored by ODU's African Student Association.
  • Feb. 19, Platanos y Collard Greens, 8 p.m., North Café, Webb Center. A play about an untold story of African American and Latino relations, teaching how to confront and overcome prejudices while defending bonds with family and friends. Sponsored by La Unidad Latina and Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity.
  • Feb. 20, 18th Annual East Coast Gospel Festival, 6:30 p.m., North Café, Webb Center. The East Coast Gospel Festival is an annual concert by Old Dominion's Ebony Impact Gospel Choir. Choirs from other area colleges and universities will also take part in the joint musical celebration. Sponsored by the Ebony Impact Gospel Choir.
  • Feb. 24, Black Music and Food in Today's Culture, 8 p.m., North Café, Webb Center. Celebrating the evolution of hip hop and the uniqueness of soul food. Sponsored by Old Dominion's Black Student Alliance.

Old Dominion University celebrates the contributions of African descendants during the February Black History Month observance. Noted black history author Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week in 1926 to celebrate the achievements of African Americans. In 1976, this became known as Black History Month. OIR staff, student organizations and community groups host a variety of events that highlight black culture, history and tradition.

For more information and a calendar of events, visit the Office of Intercultural Relations website and the Black History Month webpage.

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