Artist to discuss hip hop, social responsibility

imageShaheen Ariefden, a pioneer of South African hip hop and an activist, will visit SUNY Oswego to discuss music, identity and global politics at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, in Room 107 of Lanigan Hall.

His talk, “The Struggle Continues: Hip Hop and Identity in South Africa,” will explain how American old-school early-1980s hip hop became a tool apartheid-era South African youth employed in the successful fight to gain freedom and democracy. Ariefden also will discuss creating one’s own narrative and identity in an era of globalization.

The presentation is sponsored by SUNY Oswego’s global and international studies program.

A former MC for the pioneering South African group Prophets of da City and a hip-hop producer, Ariefdien toured and performed with artists that include James Brown, Afrika Bambaata, Spearhead and the Fugees.

He currently produces and co-presents a hip-hop radio show, called Headwarmers, on Bush Radio in South Africa. He has helped coordinate the HIV Hop program, which uses hip hop as a tool to raise awareness on HIV and AIDS issues.

Ariefden also coordinates the hip-hop-based youth development initiative ALKEMY (Alternative Kerriculum Mentoring Youth) and remains involved with such programs as voter education campaigns, creative writing for imprisoned youths and community reading projects that support larger literacy campaigns.

He guest lectures on hip hop and media for the anthropology and historical studies departments at the University of Cape Town, where he is also a graduate student in social anthropology.

Neelika Jayawardane, an assistant professor of English who invited Ariefden to campus, said she has seen him engage and energize a room full of young people through his enthusiasm, skill and positive message.

“While some musical groups, unfortunately, use their music to reinforce negative stereotypes and attitudes, Shaheen and the Prophets used music to engage in freedom and democracy during the worst years of apartheid,” Jayawardane said.

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(Posted: Nov 04, 2004)