What does Hip-Hop have in common with good old fashioned gospel hymns? Well, according to organizers at North Carolina's Brevard College, the answer is - plenty. Along with civic engagement, both faith and hip-hop have long been used as instruments of resistance. In keeping with that tradition, in response to recent police shootings and acts of violence imposed upon the black community, the college will be hosting a 'Hymns & Hip Hop' conference utilizing "the resistance traditions of the Black church and Hip-Hop to dismantle oppressive systems of injustice," according to their Facebook page

The conference, to be held at the Porter Center for Performing Arts Saturday, April 1, from 9 am to 5 pm, was created by members of Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., co-pastored with his father. With sessions like, 'Bible, Beats, and Bars,' 'Trap or Die: The Economy of Poverty,' and '#16BarsForJustice,'" conference leaders aim to "address issues of race, poverty and oppression as an explanation for the violence against black bodies." The morning sessions will kick off with enriching social justice oriented discussions between church leaders and representatives from Hymns & Hip Hop. Writing workshops and live hip-hop performances will cap off the afternoon.

The idea was hatched when a group of students from Brevard College's Institute for Women in Leadership program attended the Hymns & Hip Hop conference at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church back in September 2016. After experiencing the conference, they knew they wanted to bring the event to their campus. "I was extremely impressed," said Gabrielle Mellendorf, co-chair of IWIL. "By the end of a long day, we had heard from a Puerto Rican-American who was threatened at the age of 14, a lawyer who talked about criminal injustice and learned how hip-hop is not only a beat but also reflected through art and poetry."

Interested in attending this event? Click here to register for the conference. 

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