In a quest to answer the question: "Is America Really Post-Racial?" Author and hip-hop activist Bakari Kitwana has partnered with the Harvard University-Law School based think tank, The Jamestown Project, to announce a national tour called Rap Sessions 2009.
The tour will consist of a diverse panel of leading artists, scholars and activists, who will engage youth and community leaders in candid, compelling conversations about the ways that race and democracy are being redefined in our national culture. Targeting the hip-hop generation that helped build early support for America's first Black president, these interactive townhall meetings debate the extent to which young Americans have opened a new chapter in American race relations.
"Two-thirds of young voters 18-29 voted for Barack Obama, who called for national discussions on race during the 2008 presidential campaign," said Kitwana. "This is the same generation that legitimized the 'N' word in mainstream pop culture and everyday use. The goal of these discussions is to help the nation, and young people in particular, think through these complexities."
While Obama's victory, coupled with the recent selection of Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele, has put some at ease on the topic of racism within American, others don't feel the same.
"We now have two generations of Americans who have lived their entire lives in the post-segregation era. For some racial division is a thing of the past, for others having a mixed race president on its own doesn't bridge the racial divide," explained Kitwana.
Beginning in February 2009, Rap Sessions' community dialogues will convene in ten cities across the United States -- including Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Panelists will include: Tricia Rose (Brown University Africana Studies professor); Jabari Asim (Editor of The NAACP magazine); Stephanie Robinson, Esq. (president and CEO of The Jamestown Project); MC Serch; and activist Lisa Fager-Bediako (founder and president of Industry Ears, Inc.).
Kitwana will act as the panel moderator.
The Jamestown Project is a diverse action-oriented think tank of new leaders who reach across boundaries and generations to make democracy real. It consists of scholars, activists, and communities who use five broad strategies to achieve its mission: generating new ideas; promoting meaningful public conversations and engagement; cultivating new leaders; formulating political strategy and public policy; and using cutting-edge communications techniques that reach a broad public.
For more info, visit RapSessions.org.
02/18 - Little Rock, AR
02/23 - Knoxville, TN
03/13 - Boston, MA
03/24 - Cleveland, OH
03/31 - Anchorage, AK
04/10 - Auburn, AL
04/15 - Champaign, IL
04/16 - Chicago, IL
04/17 - Minneapolis, MN
04/22 - Los Angeles, CA