'Hip Hop and Spoken Word’ Course at Long Island University Is First of its Kind in Brooklyn
Award-winning writer/prison activist Bryonn Bain will teach class this spring
and produce hip-hop remix of ‘The Wiz’ at the Kumble Theater
Alka Gupta,Assistant Director of Public Relations
Long Island University
Brooklyn, N.Y. – Defy. Disrupt. Embrace. Erupt. Expand. Although these are not words one usually associates with academia, writer and visiting professor Bryonn Bain links them directly to “Hip Hop and Spoken Word,” a new and innovative course he will teach this semester at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus.
“I believe in the power of the word,” declared Bain, a prison activist whose many professional hats include spoken word poet, hip hop artist, actor, author and educator. “The word has the power to change the world and to change ourselves.”
Bain is a Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion and former host of “My Two Cents” on BET TV. He was wrongfully imprisoned during his second year at Harvard Law. He sued the police department and won, and later appeared on 60 Minutes and wrote The Village Voice cover story, “Walking While Black.” Bain’s one-man show, “Lyrics from Lockdown,” tells his story through spoken word, hip hop and theater and has attracted large audiences. He has lectured and performed at over 100 colleges and correctional facilities across five continents. He will perform his show for entering freshmen on Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. in the Campus’ Spike Lee Screening Room.
Coursework will examine the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts movements and the poetry of the 1930s to 1960s, using that as a foundation to talk about today’s hip hop and spoken word. In addition to a discussion of the history and politics of hip hop, each class will be devoted to writing and performance. Students will have the opportunity to participate in Bain’s “What It Iz: The Spokenwordical,” a hip hop/spoken word remix version of the 1970s classic, “The Wiz,” on April 23 at the Campus’ Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts.
The three-credit, undergraduate level course will be held Fridays from noon to 3 p.m. Students can earn an additional two credits if they are cast in “What It Iz.” Contact UnderTheInfluenceofX@gmail.com or Admissions at (718) 488-1011 for more information.
Bain said a study of hip hop is necessary because “this is the verse of our time, just as Shakespeare wrote in the verse of his time. It is important for us to engage in a scholarly way in the language of each new generation.”
Citing influential hip hop scholars such as Tricia Rose, Cornel West, Lani Guinier and Kellis Parker who taught him, Bain said, “Hip hop culture and poetry were initially marginalized by the academy rather than in popular culture. But these movements have come out of our own backyard and moved people around the world. If we don’t take a closer look at them, then who will?”
The Brooklyn Campus is distinguished by…
dynamic curricula reflecting the great urban community it serves. Distinctive programs encompass the arts and media, the natural sciences, business, social policy, urban education, the health professions and pharmacy, and include the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, the D.P.T. in Physical Therapy and the Pharm.D. in Pharmacy. A vibrant urban oasis in downtown Brooklyn, this diverse and thriving campus offers academic excellence, personalized attention, small class size and flexible course schedules. In 2006, a $45-million Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center was opened to serve the Campus and the surrounding community. In 2007, the Cyber Café was launched, providing a high-tech hot spot for students and faculty members to meet and eat.
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