“History, Hip Hop and American Popular Culture” is the topic of the free Faces of Diversity Brown Bag series at Friday, April 20, at the Phoenix City Council Chambers,

200 W. Jefferson St

     The speaker is Matthew C. Whitaker, Ph.D., Arizona State University (ASU) Foundation Professor of History and director, ASU Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. Whitaker will explain why Hip Hop and Rap are “arguably the highest form of creative, extemporaneous, ever-evolving form of communication and expression in the post Civil Rights era.”  Rap found its roots imbedded deep within African, Caribbean and African-American culture and oral tradition and often took on an innocuous, playful tone; but through Hip-Hop culture and Rap music, it would become a way of communicating serious objections to racial oppression, political isolation, educational inequalities, war and more.

     Whitaker also is an historian of African-American history, civil rights and social movements, and the author of several books, including Icons of Black America: Crossing Boundaries and Breaking Barriers. Whitaker's commentaries on popular culture, race class, gender and presidential politics have been featured on NPR (National Public Radio) and PBS (Public Broadcasting System) television.

     The free event is co-sponsored by the Phoenix Human Relations Commission and the city’s Equal Opportunity Department. The Faces of Diversity series features dynamic people telling their stories about diversity.  Bring your lunch and enjoy a cultural experience.

     No reservation is needed.  For more information, call 602-495-0358 or 602-534-1557/TTY or visit phoenix.gov/eod/whatsnew.