Johnson C. Smith University introduces a new course that explores the history of Black women dating back to the 19th century.
The new hip-hop course being offered has gained national attention, JCSU announced. It was inspired by Grammy-nominated rapper and North Carolina’s very own Rapsody, and her 2019 critically acclaimed album, “Eve.
This Hip-Hop Feminist Literature is taught by visiting professor Dr. Tyler Bunzey from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he teaches African American literature and hip-hop. The course looks at various themes of Black womanhood and hip-hop, and then uses those themes to understand various histories of Black women’s articulation of self in the U.S. through movements like Black feminism, womanism and hip-hop feminism.
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“There’s a way in which we think, write and teach hip-hop culture. Gender is a unit that we often teach, but very rarely do we provide extended meditations for students to engage with gender and hip-hop,” Bunzey said. “Gender is so important to understanding hip-hop, it’s a discourse and a gateway of power for a lot of MCs. It determines who gets on what list, who gets what awards. It has even determined who gets access to certain technologies and spaces.”
Bunzey first developed and launched the course at UNC-Chapel Hill in fall 2020.
The new course at JCSU is unique because it not only focuses on hip-hop feminism but also hip-hop feminist literature, Bunzey explained. “Students are engaging with a longer history of Black women’s discourse throughout multiple centuries. I have assigned readings dating back to the 19th century.”
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