Experience The Hip-Hop Fellow

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9th Wonder, Grammy Award-Winning Producer, DJ and Record Exec

Mark you calendar for Thursday, November 17 for the next Heritage & History program!

Film. Talk. Beats. Featuring Grammy Award-Winning Producer, DJ and Record Executive 9th Wonder at The Underground at the AvidXchange Music Factory, Charlotte, NC. Buy tickets here.

6-9 pm

Film. Documentary film screening of The Hip-Hop Fellow

Talk. Discussion and Q&A by 9th Wonder and Dr. Mark Anthony Neal

9-11 pm

Beats. Gantt After Dark experience with music, mixing and moves featuring DJ Chela

North Carolina native, 9th Wonder is the subject of the 2014 documentary The Hip-Hop Fellow, which will be screened as part of this three-part Heritage & History program. The film traces his 2012-15 tenure as a Fellow at Du Bois Institute at Harvard University where he taught and explored hip-hop’s role in academia. Currently, 9th Wonder is a Lecturer in African American Studies at Duke University.

In 1998 along with Phonte and Big Pooh, 9th Wonder formed the critically acclaimed hip-hop trio Little Brother. His first major label placement as a producer was the song “Threat” on Jay-Z’s Black Album, and since then he worked such artists as Erykah Badu, Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige.

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Mark Anthony Neal, Ph.D.

Joining the program is Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, Duke University Professor of African & African American Studies and English, who co-teaches The History of Hip-Hop with 9th Wonder. Dr. Neal is the author of numerous books, including New Black Man, and is host of Left of Black, a video webcast produced with the John Hope Franklin Center.

“Given the demographics of Charlotte and pockets of segregation and poverty at the heart of the recent protests, this discussion of The Hip-Hop Fellow provides a unique opportunity for community folks seeking solutions to consider the possibilities for social change via hip-hop arts. Reflecting on 9th Wonder’s career is to bear witness to a young Black kid that grew up working class in North Carolina who finds himself as a fellow at Harvard University. It is crucial to understand that hip-hop allowed him and countless other Black youth to imagine a future for themselves.” — Mark Anthony Neal

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DJ Chela

Culminating the event is a Gantt After Dark experience with DJ Chela. DJ Chela got her start in North Carolina—her home state—making her mark in parties, live shows, college radio, DJ battles, and her mixtapes that were known for showcasing local hip-hop talent. One of her first opportunities was a 20-minute slot on 9th Wonder’s radio show on WXDU. She became one of the first, only and most widely recognized female DJs in North Carolina, gigging internationally, and rocking countless shows with national acts.

Now based in New York, Chela has been making her imprint in clubs, radio, mixtapes, live shows and battles for over 10 years. Her live sets are a dynamic mixture of world rhythms, Latin, Hip Hop, rock, reggae, funk, soul, disco, house and more mixed with a turntablist sensibility.

The Heritage & History program series features nationally noted artists and scholars who are preserving Black culture through an array of disciplines and media. In hosting each culture keeper, the Gantt Center invites public participation in special events and experiences that illuminate important stories and engage audiences. It has been a joy to be a part of designing the series and organizing this program and this one and this one.

Presenting Sponsor | Headquartered in Charlotte, Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.4 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest.

Host Cultural Institution  | The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture celebrates the contributions of Africans and African-Americans to American culture and serves as an epicenter for music, dance, theater, visual art, film, arts education, literature, history and civic engagement. Follow the Gantt Center on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter @HBGanttCenter.

You can purchase tickets here.

Love and Happiness

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Funny how this album cover and the songs within made such an impression on me at such a young age. Fans of Al Green’s music, my parents of course had this hit album in the Seventies. At the time, that white wicker chair was the most regal thing I had ever beheld. Al’s cool, confident pose, the white shag carpeting, the hanging asparagus fern and everything pictured on the cover fed my budding notions of style and romanticism. To this day, Al Green remains my favorite soul singer, every song on the album can move my tender heart to tears, and I’ll forever consider myself Al’s greatest fan.

Apparently, I’m hardly the only one influenced by the album. Rolling Stone has ranked “I’m Still In Love With You” among the greatest albums of all time.

Today, April 13, is Al Green’s birthday and coincidentally I find myself en route to The Soul of Philanthropy exhibit opening in Arkansas, the home state of my beloved soul singer. Since it’s National Poetry Month (and I’m behind on my daily poem posts), below is an inspired haiku. And I bet you can guess who I’ll be listening to during today’s flight to Little Rock. — VF

Poem, Day 13

Love and Happiness

Joys never to be without 

yet found first within

Queen of The Trumpet Remembered Still

A friend’s mom had her send me the link below, after hearing an interview on NPR with two young jazz musicians. Here’s her note to my friend:

For the first time I heard Valaida Snow’s name mentioned on All Things Considered today June 3 at about the 4:50 mark. Valaida is named for her as I recall. Send this on to Valaida; she might enjoy it… it’s a brief mention but interesting.

I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a musician single out and mention a Valaida Snow song, so this was a treat. Listen.

“For me, choosing songs that were maybe written in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s — I choose them because they’re good songs.  — Cecile McLorin Salvant, 23-year-old jazz vocalist