This is an initiative that initially began as an in class assignment for students in the Hip Hop in Africa course. The course is a joint course taught with students at Howard University and George Washington University, taking the course together. Students must come together in groups of two or three and select a research topic related to the course. Students are also allowed to do the project individually. After completing their research, students must then record a 15 minute audio podcast.
The idea to use a publicly accessible blog as the platform that students used to engage in the research was based on a desire to cultivate an archive of information that anyone could access. It also was another platform for artists to be exposed to different audiences. Students were tasked with finding and reviewing articles, films, and artists. Thus far my students have written more than 600 blog posts, all of which is organized by country, tagged with the names of artists featured, and categorized by theme.
The website has since gone from averaging 6,000 views in 2014, to 27,000 in 2016, and almost 88,000 in 2018. Our visitors primarily come from the U.S. and South Africa. We also receive a large number of visitors from the European Union, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, & the UK.
The blog and the podcast were launched with the goal of taking a scholarly approach to conversations around hip hop in Africa. On iTunes, we are ranked among the top five podcasts dealing with similar themes, specifically, African hip hop podcasts and African Studies podcasts.
Msia Kibona Clark, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of African Studies at Howard University. Her work has focused on popular culture, migration, and gender studies. Msia has written numerous scholarly publications, including three edited manuscripts and over a half dozen articles and book chapters on both popular culture in Africa and on African migrant experiences. Her published books include Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati (2014), Hip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City & Dustyfoot Philosophers (2018), and Pan African Spaces: Essays on Black Transnationalism (2018).
Her more recent articles and book chapters include “Hip-Hop and Human Rights in Africa”, “Feminisms in African Hip-Hop”, “The Contemporary African Diaspora”, “The Evolution of a Bicultural Identity, in the Shadows of Nyerere’s Pan Africanism”, and the forthcoming “African Women and Hip-Hop in the Diaspora”.
Along with her research interests, Dr. Clark created and teaches the courses “Black Women & Popular Culture” and” Hip Hop & Social Change in Africa” at Howard University. She (along with her students) produces the Hip-Hop African blog and monthly podcast hosted at hiphopafrican.com. The blog and podcast explore a variety of topics related to hip hop in Africa, and includes interviews with artists, activists, and scholars.
Msia was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Dar es Salaam (2013/14), and she currently the Director of the Undergraduate Program in the Department of African Studies at Howard University, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Diaspora Community of Tanzanians in America (DICOTA), and a member of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and the African Studies Association of Africa. She is also an executive board member and past president of the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists.
Msia is also a photographer who has exhibited her work online and in print publications, as well as in art and photo exhibitions in Tanzania and the U.S.
View all posts by Msia Kibona Clark
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