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.