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UCLA Launches Hip-Hop Initiative With Chuck D As First Artist In Residence

Rapper Chuck D, A middle-aged Black man, stands on a stage in front of a DJ and red lighting, holding a microphone. He wears a black t-shirt and a black hat.
Rapper Chuck D performs on stage during "Midnight At The Oasis" Annual Art For Life Benefit on July 15, 2017 in Water Mill, New York.
(Jason Kempin
/
Getty Images North America)
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UCLA is out to become the world's "leading center for hip-hop studies.”

The university has launched a Hip Hop Initiative in its Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies that will include a book series, community engagement programs and postdoctoral fellowships.

Rapper Chuck D, a co-founder of the seminal 1980’s socially conscious rap group Public Enemy, is the program's first artist-in-residence. He will participate in a series of on-campus events.

Anthropology professor H. Samy Alim is spearheading the initiative, and said that the program will invite an examination not just of the music but of the culture that birthed it.

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“The rigorous study of [hip-hop] culture offers us a wealth of intellectual insight into the massive social and political impact of Black music, Black history and Black people on global culture,” he said in a statement, “from language, dance, visual art and fashion to electoral politics, political activism and more.”

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