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Columbia College Chicago
Bakari Kitwana
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Bakari Kitwana

Spring 2009 Fellow
Cleavland, OH



Bakari Kitwana is a journalist, activist and political analyst whose commentary on politics and youth culture have been seen on CNN, FOX News (the O’Reilly Factor), C-Span, and PBS (The Tavis Smiley Show) and featured on NPR. He’s currently the editor-in-chief of newsone.com, the internet news presence of Radio One, the nation’s premiere African American radio news source with more than 50 radio stations across the US. He’s the CEO of Rap Sessions: Community Dialogues on Hip-Hop, which hosts 10 townhall meetings around the country annually that debate important issues facing the younger generation. His 2002 book The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture, which focuses on young Blacks born after the Civil Rights Movement, has been adopted as a course book in classrooms at over 100 colleges and universities.  Kitwana published his first book, The Rap on Gangsta Rap in 1994. Since then he’s been the Editorial Director of Third World Press, Executive Editor of the Source—the nation’s top-selling music magazine— and co-founder of the first ever National Hip-Hop Political Convention, which brought over 4,000 young people to Newark in 2004 to create and endorse a political agenda for the hip-hop generation.

Kitwana has been a consultant on hip-hop for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Artist-in-Residence at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago. An active writer, his essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Savoy and the Progressive. For the last decade, he has lectured and given keynote presentations at the nation’s leading colleges and universities, including Princeton University, Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of California–Berkeley, Columbia University, and countless others across the country.  A native of Long Island, NY, Kitwana holds a B.A. and two Masters degrees (in English and Teaching) from the University of Rochester. The author of four books, Let’s Get Free: Strategies for Organizing the Hip-Hop Voting Bloc (Third World Press, 2009) is his most recent work.


Bakari Kitwana utilized the Institute Fellowship to support his co-editorship of a new publication, Does Hip-Hop Hate Women?, also co-edited with Kara Young (PhD candidate, UC-Berkeley). This will be the first published anthology of its kind to introduce critical new writings by fifteen artists and activists from the second-wave hip-hop generation (born after 1985). The project will support new and largely unheard voices in the current hip-hop movement, whose views on gender, sex, and identity have been informed by a mainstream hip-hop driven by the corporate music industry and mass media networks.

Kitwana continues to bring Rap Sessions to colleges and universities across the US. He recently gave a lecture at Hendrix College in Arkansas about Race and Hip-Hop in the Obama Era (September 2010). Kitwana will visit The University of Cincinnati, October 23, and moderate a panel discussion on Global Hip-Hop & Economic Discovery featuring M-1; Martha Diaz; Dr. Mark Lamont Hill; Sabreena Da Witch, and Toni Blackman.

Rap Sessions' New Muslim Cool Tour will commence with a panel discussion about the documentary fim, New Muslim Cool, at Columbus State Community College on November 3 and Middle Tennessee State University on November 10. Kitwana will moderate a panel discussion featuring: Jennifer Taylor; Jason Hamza Perez; and Nur Masnavi. For more information visit: www.rapsessions.org

Kitwana was in conversation with Dr. Bernice Reagon (founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH November 20, 2010. This event was part of the 2-day Social Justice Institute Program: Social Justice, Race and Profiling: An Intergenerational Think Tank.

For more information on Bakari's work: www.bakarikitwana.com