May 29, 2024

On Tuesday Jan. 22, professors Julius Bailey of the philosophy department and Sha’Dawn Battle of the English department hosted the first installment of their series partnered with Concerned Black Students (CBS), “How Hip Hop Influenced Me.” This installment was hosted by both and they gave a joint presentation on Meek Mill’s new album “Championship.”

When asked why they decided to make this series as well as present this installment, Bailey answered “initially, it was a programmatic idea from Concerned Black Students.”

From there, Bailey saw this as an opportunity to integrate the subject into his Philosophy of Hip-Hop course offered here at Wittenberg. He then continued by saying “we wanted to kick [things] off.”

When asked the same question, Battle responded by stating that having a program like these are very important because it destigmatizes hip-hop music and black life and also allows groups to have more inclusive conversations. “Hip-hop is a vehicle of knowledge production,” Battle stated.

She also reports, “many [people] today come to understand black life, black people, black youth, through hip-hop.”

Asking about how this album inspired him individually, Bailey replies saying Meek Mills stands out because it could have been easier for him to just say “forget it” and give up, but he didn’t. He stood up and spoke out against wrongdoings in the world and specifically, the judicial systems against black individuals.

Wrapping up the evenings interview, a final question was asked regarding what they wanted people who attended the presentation to take away and hold on to throughout their lives, and to continue forward with a more inclusive and diverse Wittenberg.

Bailey replied that he wants people who have a sincere interest to be able to peek into the lives of not only black people, but also the poor and the oppressed. Battle, agreeing with Bailey, states that it’s a way to see into the lives of those who are done wrong. A chance for those who don’t fully understand, to be able to finally understand.

With the ability to understand, we also can move forward with inclusion and solidifying the understanding of basic human rights.

The next installment of the series will be a presentation of DAMN by Kendrick Lamar, presented by professor Steven Schoonover of the Philosophy department. It will be held Feb. 12 in Bailey Auditorium in the Science Center.

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